The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives (MOA), together with the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) hosted its premier workshop for extension officers during the week of June 24th – 28th. The event was held at the Union Orchid Garden Conference Room for all of the five days. Extension officers from all Agricultural Regions of the island participated in this week-long training. The training allowed for re-examining the techniques of the extension officers to make them more efficient and effective for the current project titled, “Enhancement of the Efficiency of Production-Distribution Supply Chains in the Fruit and Vegetable Sector.”
At the opening ceremony for extension and advisory training workshop, Agriculture Minister, Ezechiel Joseph, mentioned that agricultural extension officers need to sharpen their professional skills in order to implement this project efficiently; Moreover, the Head of the Taiwan Technical Mission, Mario Cheng, also said that this project will not be successful without a robust agricultural extension system in the island.
The primary objective of the training was not only to outfit the personnel of the Extension and Advisory Department with skills which would enable them to interact directly with farmers and other persons on a daily basis and find ways of dealing with all individuals in all situations in a manner that is professional and pleasant, but also address the potential issues or situations that the agricultural officer may encounter in this project. Essentially, the workshop will aid in the smooth running of the project and permeate the extension service throughout the country.
At the end of this workshop, Project Coordinator from MOA, Adline Eudovic and TTM Specialist, A-Lin Chen, presented the market information and the brief results from the first baseline field survey in the June Stakeholders Production Scheduling Meeting. According to the presentations, some varieties are more popular on the shelf such as, red cabbage, Romaine lettuce, and kale. The baseline survey also shows that a lot of farmers are already trying to sell their product to the wholesale markets. However, the key is the consistency of the quantities supplied.
Following this training, extension officers are now better equipped to deal with situations as it relates to conflict management. The newly obtained skills in communication, work ethic knowledge, and interpersonal skills will allow them to be more effective with carrying out their duties.
The project itself will focus not just on the improvement of the officers, but will also include the increase in production of seven crops under the project. These crops are; cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe/honeydew, bell peppers, and pineapple. Besides technical assistance, the project will also seek to provide practical support to farmers at their farms.