DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 16/03/15 5:30PM

  1. AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS VISIT GINGER AND DALO FARMERS?-?Senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture recently visited Ginger and Dalo farmers in the lower Naitasiri region.
  2. SENIOR OFFICIALS ATTEND PROTOCOL WORKSHOP-?Senior Government officials from various ministries were reminded on the importance of their role in Government’s international?endeavours.
  3. RURAL STATISTICS IMPORTANCE HIGHLIGHTED-?Project staff at the Economic Planning and Statistics (EP&S) Division at the Ministry of Agriculture participated in a refresher course to recognise the importance of the division in identifying, preparing, monitoring and evaluating all agricultural projects in Fiji.

 

1?AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS VISIT GINGER AND DALO FARMERS

Senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture recently visited Ginger and Dalo farmers in the lower Naitasiri region.

The Ministry’s acting permanent secretary Uraia Waibuta led the team and said the visit was made in an effort to visit farmers who have been positively contributing to the improvement of agriculture production in the country.

“We need to visit our farmers more often especially those that are contributing to the economy so as to ensure that the issues they are facing are addressed,” Mr Waibuta said.

Farmers visited included Ginger farmers in Muaniweni and Lomaivuna, while Dairy and Dalo farmers were visited in Serea.

These farmers were part of the 2014 Fertiliser Subsidies and Dairy Industry Support Programme of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Fertiliser Subsidy aims to provide financial assistance to subsidise the fertiliser cost to farmers while the Dairy Industry Support Programme is to assist dairy farmers to better equip their farms through input and effective utilization of their resources for optimum milk production.

“These farmers have great potential and the Ministry’s effort to transform and modernise the Agriculture sector especially rural areas will focus on these farmers who are adapting themselves well to the package delivery,” Mr Waibuta said.

“Ginger is convincing compared to previous years, the revival of recommended Tausala planting on flat lands in the region is a good effort,” he said.

“Dairy for Naitasiri is improving and the Ministry is looking at ways to further lift the production of milk.”

On average, Naitasiri produced 3,200 tonnes of ginger whilst the Central Division produced 1.4million litres of milk in 2014.

In an effort to also improve service delivery, good communication and update of relevant information to farmers in the Naitasiri Province, the staff also visited Agriculture Offices and staff in Lomaivuna, Naqali and Vunidawa.

 

2?SENIOR OFFICIALS ATTEND PROTOCOL WORKSHOP

Senior Government officials from various ministries were reminded on the importance of their role in Government’s international?endeavours.

At the opening of the two-day workshop on “Protocol Guidelines for Foreign Visiting Dignitaries”, the officials were encouraged to use this opportunity to learn more on Government’s protocol and processes involved in effective diplomacy.

The acting permanent secretary in the Prime Minister Office Naipote Katonitabua opened the training and highlighted its importance to Government.

“Some of you may have experienced in the last high level state visits, that the Fijian Government ensured that the highest level of protocol was rendered; we were culturally sensitive, ensured religious tolerance in aspects of protocol and also ensured that respect and professionalism were values we continued to uphold throughout the visit,” Mr Katonitabua said.

“Imagine a high level state visit without a well-structured protocol procedure in place; imagine not addressing important conflicting protocol procedures before any state visit,” Mr Katonitabua said.

Mr Katonitabua urged participants to participate fully in the next two days, be constructive in criticism, share ?practical experiences, operation process and procedures and lessons learnt during the last visits, to enable Government to have a standard guideline for other impending high level visits.

“Your work is critical and has an impact on our diplomatic efforts.? It is in workshops such as these, where team work and networks are built and we are fortunate to have an experienced leader and facilitator in the likes of the Ambassador Designate to China, Major General Iowane Naivalurua, who has put aside two days of his orientation program to be with you,” he added.

Ambassador Designate to China, Major General Iowane Naivalurua encouraged participants to use this opportunity and work together as team. He said the?training aimed at strengthening the Fijian Government’s diplomatic services and relations. Naivalurua added that through this meeting, the Foreign Ministry hopes to develop a manual for protocol guidelines.

“It is envisaged that at the end of the 2-days workshop, the participants will all have gained a working knowledge and appropriate levels of skills that is required in protocol work,” Mr Naivalurua said.

 

3?RURAL STATISTICS IMPORTANCE HIGHLIGHTED

Project staff at the Economic Planning and Statistics (EP&S) Division at the Ministry of Agriculture participated in a refresher course to recognise the importance of the division in identifying, preparing, monitoring and evaluating all agricultural projects in Fiji.

The week-long Fiji Agriculture Rural Statistics Project Staff Induction Workshop held at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Raiwaqa commits the proper gathering of Production Data from farmers and the objective, result and impact of the Ministry’s projects that will assist in the further development of farmers.

The Ministry’s principal economic planning officer for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Ms. Kolianita Alfred said that the project staff will be instrumental in data collection and reporting information from the field.

“Reviews of two main Agricultural Programmes have been completed and scheduled quarterly Demand Driven Approach (DDA) monitoring visits has been scheduled for the year, in addition to reviews of our Non-Capital Programmes,” she said. “These M&E activities will focus more on checking progress and tracking it against what was planned and suggesting remedial recommendations for management considerations and decision.

“There are values and standards that guide the integrity of any M&E activity and it is important that they are aware and practice them when they go out to the field.”

In addition, she said that proper data collection is very important for the work of the M&E Unit within the Ministry and work will be done in partnership with the Statistics Unit.

“We ensure accountability by improving the quality of our reporting and making sure that is it realistic, consistent and timely.”

The review of the Nadarivatu and Sigatoka Valley Programs has been completed while the Sigavou Agriculture Development Programme and Cocoa Revitalisation Program are scheduled to be reviewed at the end of the month.