The Ministry of Agriculture will be embarking on restructuring and re-branding its research stations nationwide.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Mahendra Reddy yesterday while officially commissioning the newly upgraded Dobuilevu Research Station and staff quarters in Ra yesterday.
Reddy said agricultural research stations were earmarked for a shift in operational focus, with individual stations set to concentrate research on specific commodities.
“We have outlined the framework to work on, whereby we will be re-looking at the role of Koronivia Research Station, we will be renaming it and then we will be re-branding all the research stations nationwide because we want to specialize the research stations, so we can put specialist staff in those stations,” he said.
“We can’t continue to have a research station whereby you conduct research on rice, dalo, cassava, and every crop, so we will specialize it and put staff there whose only role is to dive deeper and undertake deeper research on that commodity with staff to receive upskilling and be sent for training,” said Reddy.
“So for any country to grow, you need the thinkers, those people who create new knowledge, where are they found? They’re found in research institutes, research centers, and academic institutions because they’re highly qualified and technically skilled and they are the ones engaged in research and creation of new knowledge,” he added.
The re-branding and re-purposing of activities conducted by the respective Ministry research stations will be implemented as stations will be dedicated to specifically selected commodities.
The Ministry operates eight crop research stations nationwide, which will be re-branded to specialize in selected crops or livestock as part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s new strategic vision for the development of the sector.
“Our research stations play a critical role in knowledge management and will be at the forefront of this re-prioritization of duties, how we want to place staff with expertise in that particular area, whereby someone who needs information about a specific crop can be directed to the right personnel at the right station,” highlighted Minister Reddy.
“Our farmers are continuously faced with challenges, threats from climate change, threats from pests and diseases, etc, they will come and ask for information, they write to us, they text us and email us and ask for that particular issue to be dealt with which is why we need to re-evaluate our research priorities,” he added.