The capacity of yaqona farmers of Vuinadi, Koroalau in Cakaudrove to manage their farming ventures as a business received another boost through a recently conducted refresher course and field visit.
The refresher course and visit, coordinated by the Farm Management Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture in the Northern Division, was held to assess the effectiveness of a capacity building training conducted in the village last year.
Farm Management training facilitator, agriculture officer (North) Timoci Vakaboro said the refresher course was to monitor their progress after undergoing informal training on farming as a business.
“Last year we conducted Farm Management training for yaqona farmers here in Vuinadi, specifically based on developing their knowledge on farming and moving from subsistence, to farming as a business with goals and plans.
“The program is critical to equip farmers with Farm Management skills and knowledge that will help them better manage their finances.
During the initial training, farmers were taught how to manage farm records and other types of record keeping from the planting to harvesting stages and recording of farming activities to help guide the individual farmers’ decision making.
“These farmers have been educated on the potentials available if they move from the traditional way of farming to a more commercial approach,” Mr. Vakaboro said.
The refresher course also included Sustainable Land Management practices with Vuinadi farmers learning about the importance of land conservation.
“Farmers need to know about land conservation and the threats caused by activities such as burning and the importance of contour farming as well as the advantages of vertiver grass, which most farmers are not aware of.”
“Part of the training included the formation of clusters based on yaqona and dalo commodities and land care to oversee land care practices.”
Meanwhile, yaqona farmer Josese Mamita said the refresher course was a good initiative a year after the initial training.
“We would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for revisiting us and rekindling our interest and contribution to the Matakavou Farmers Group that was formed for the benefit of the village after the Farm Management Training.
“The visit is an indication of the concern the Ministry has for us farmers in rural areas and it is necessary to move forward and practice what they have taught us and to look forward to the outcome of the goals we have set,” Mamita said.
“The monitoring refresher course has given us another motivation to keep moving and to realise the potential from land and the impact of managing a farm for business can have on our families and community,” he added.