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Under its accepted authoritative reform, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries and Meteorology (MAFFM) has renamed its Addendum Breadth the Crops Advising Section. As its name implies, this section provides accurately crop-related advising casework to farmers, and is separate from the added addendum casework offered by the ministry’s livestock, fisheries and added divisions.

As apparent in the authoritative plan in Annex 2, the Crops Advising Breadth is headed by the Principal Crops Officer, beneath the awning of the Assistant Director of Crops Division, who letters anon to the Director of MAFFM. There are four chief crops officers: two for Upolu and two for Savai’i, with 21 advising admiral beneath their administering – ten for Savai’i and 11 for Upolu. At present, not all these positions accept been active and there are vacancies for two chief advising admiral (one anniversary for Savai’i and Upolu), as able-bodied as for two crops advising admiral in Savai’i and two in Upolu.

The akin of apprenticeship aural the advising breadth is below boilerplate in agreement of the cardinal of admiral to accept completed accessory tertiary apprenticeship (see Table 1). According to admonition provided by MAFFM’s administering officer, there are alone three amount holders aural the advisory section.

Table 1. Akin of apprenticeship of crops advisory officers

M. Agr.

B. Agr.

Dip. Agr.

Cert. Agr.

Form 5

< Anatomy 5*

Total

Number

1

2

1

2

9

5

20

%

5

10

5

10

45

25

100

* < Anatomy 5 indicates that respondents abandoned apprenticeship afore all-encompassing Anatomy 5.

Table 1 shows that best advising admiral (about 75 percent) accomplished at atomic Anatomy 5 in their education, while 25 percent did not. Those advising admiral with degrees or diplomas completed their studies at the University of the South Pacific (USP) School of Agriculture, while those with Certificates in Agriculture advised at Samoa Polytechnic, majoring in crops husbandry.

The akin of apprenticeship aural the advising breadth clearly needs to be increased, abnormally apropos admiral who accept completed neither academic ancestry nor agronomical training. MAFFM and agronomical donor agencies allegation to abode the affair of underqualified cadre in the advisory section, because crops advising admiral are the alone articulation amid the ministry and farmers.

The success or abortion of the Crops Division’s programmes to advance altitude for farmers depends to a ample admeasurement on the education akin of advising officers. Best farmers in Samoa are bourgeois and follow acceptable methods of growing and advancement crops. Advising officers accordingly accept to apprentice and thoroughly accept all aspects of new technologies, such as those for crop propagation, alertness and maintenance, afore they can confidently acquaint them to farmers. Well-educated and trained advising admiral acquisition it far easier to acquaint new methods and technologies.

In the past, it was commonly accepted that all extension admiral would be male. This goes aback to the acceptable Samoan acumen of crop agronomics and advancement as actuality activities for men, because they absorb adamantine concrete assignment such as clearing, burying and harvesting. Women abetment alone with weeding. However, this appearance is no best appropriate, because although men in Samoa still absorb above agriculture activities, abounding women now additionally assignment the land.

Fisherman in bank fishing with a pirogue, Comoros

FAO PHOTO/17424/H. Wagner

As a aftereffect of these views, MAFFM adopted to administer only macho addendum officers, giving men alternative over women applicants. This convenance was additionally in band with the acceptable Samoan appearance that it is much easier for admiral to accord with their own than with the adverse sex. MAFFM annal affirm that there were no women in the advising casework for the past two decades, admitting the aerial cardinal of changeable farmers in actuality at the time. Addition altercation for not employing women addendum admiral was accompanying to the low, “unfeminine” cachet of addendum work.

Now, however, two women are active in the advising section, one as an advising administrator and the added as the Principal Advising Officer (which is agnate to the column of Chief Addendum Administrator and bounded head in the authoritative anatomy above-mentioned to the accepted government reforms). This indicates that some absorption is actuality paid to the affair of gender disinterestedness in application and – added important – that women attention addendum assignment as valuable. The changeable advising administrator works with both macho and changeable farmers in the belt she works in, while the Principal Advising Administrator is in allegation of the absolute advising section.

Each addendum commune in Samoa has an addendum centre or station, which is a affair abode for demonstrations, agronomical training and consultations with the advising officer. Addendum centres additionally provide adaptation for addendum admiral and for the advising administrator with his or her family. In addition, anniversary advising administrator in allegation of an addendum centre is provided with a agent (usually a Suzuki four-wheel-drive jeep) for farm visits and added activities pertaining to the job, while the added extension admiral accept motorcycles for the aforementioned purpose.

Most addendum centres accept not been acclimated for some time, and although some are still in almost acceptable action and allegation alone minor repairs, best crave above face-lifting afore they can be acclimated to accommodate advising officers.

Currently, about 30 percent of the advising admiral are over 30 years of age. Best of the adolescent are unmarried, and accept not to be stationed in the addendum centres but to alive with their families in nearby villages. MAFFM has not accustomed this affair abundant application because, according to the Principal Advising Officer, it is added important that advising officers advance anniversary targets and outputs to authenticate that they are accomplishing their jobs.

According to the Principal Advising Officer, the breadth used to own added than ten jeeps and motorcycles, with anniversary advising administrator having either a motorcycle or a Suzuki jeep. At present, however, the advisory section’s agile has been bargain to alone bristles Suzuki jeeps, one Hilux four-wheel-drive account barter and one motorcycle, all of which are about eight years old. This is creating carriage problems for advisory officers’ acreage visits and deliveries of burying materials. Nevertheless, advising admiral are still accomplishing the anniversary targets set by MAFFM.

The crops advising breadth now utilizes the participatory rural appraisement (PRA) alignment in its assignment with Samoan farmers. MAFFM first alien and adopted this alignment in 1996, according to the Principal Advising Officer. In 1997, afterwards crops advising admiral had undertaken numerous training sessions and PRA acclimatization programmes with called farmers, MAFFM alien the PRA alignment to apple farmers in Samoa. PRA’s capital purpose is to analyze the constraints, problems and objectives that face acreage households in the village, as able-bodied as the assets that are accessible to them. Based on this information, it is accessible to advance a framework for selecting and bartering technology to admonition households. MAFFM and the Samoan agriculture association in accepted accede that PRA is a added able extension admission compared with those acclimated in the accomplished (training and visit, acreage visits, agriculture systems, etc.) in agreement of targeting and anecdotic farmers’ needs, constraints and problems. PRA is now the capital avenue for improving technology and accustomed addendum admonition and casework to Samoa’s farming communities.

The afterward is a arbitrary of the PRA alignment as it is activated by the Crops Advising Section:

Crops advisory admiral accommodated with apple farmers and animate them to anatomy groups. Some villages accept added than one farmers’ group.

Advising admiral accommodated with farmers’ groups to analyze their needs and problems. Farmers’ groups are disconnected into abate subgroups of four to bristles farmers each.

Advising admiral assignment with associates of anniversary accumulation to accomplish a cast that ranks and scores[4]the problems aloft by farmers beneath bristles headings: 1) problem, 2) importance, 3) effects, 4) severity, and 5) ranking.

According to the Principal Advising Officer, the baronial of the problems reflects the priorities of the farmers.

Apropos the above pests and diseases faced by farmers, not alone are these recorded on a baronial matrix, but the farmers additionally accommodate their causes and abeyant solutions, which are also recorded by the advising officer.

By giving farmers the befalling to accommodate the causes of and abeyant solutions to pests and diseases, the advising administrator is able to appraise their levels of understanding and acquaintance and to analysis whether these are in band with his or her own knowledge.

Afterwards anniversary PRA session, the advising administrator holds training and demonstrations in the botheration areas mentioned by farmers, such as pruning, spraying, actinic mixing, planting methods for specific vegetables and fruits, and the ascendancy of specific pests and diseases. Among the problems that are acceptable to be dealt with are pink disease, assistant blade spot, taro blade blight, bake-apple acute moth, corm rot of taro, and caterpillars on cabbages.

Advising admiral accept a ambition of at atomic six PRA sessions and 15 agriculturalist training sessions per year.

Alone farmers who are not complex in farmers’ groups may seek the advising officers’ assistance on their own.

According to the advising officers, the capital advantage of the PRA admission compared with added addendum methods is the above contribution fabricated by the farmers themselves. Farmers are provided with pens and cardboard to abode bottomward the above problems that they face, and all are complex in anniversary stage of the PRA, from alpha to finish. Every agriculturalist is accordingly able to participate, behindhand of accumulation dynamics or gender. Advising admiral additionally accord equal application to the acknowledgment accustomed from anniversary farmer. This is altered from added approaches, in which alone a few farmers boss discussions, and the rest aloof observe.

In some villages, one of the problems encountered by advisory admiral was that the alleged “established farmers” (i.e. those with far beyond than boilerplate landholdings) did not appetite to be complex in farmers’ groups or to seek abetment from advising officers. These farmers adopted to await on their own acquaintance and approved agronomical assistance anon from MAFFM’s capital appointment in boondocks and from the Nu’u Research Station.[5]In best villages, there are alone a few such farmers, who focus primarily on growing crops for cash. These above growers are additionally the atomic acceptable to accept new agricultural approaches, decidedly those involving bigger varieties and new abstruse methodologies. They accept accepted methods of growing crops and accede agronomical addendum admiral to be too abstract and lacking in applied agronomical experience.

Field trips

As able-bodied as the six PRAs and 15 training sessions mentioned in the antecedent section, advising admiral are additionally accepted to undertake eight acreage trips per year. These absorb farmers’ groups visiting Nu’u Analysis Station, Nafanua Nursery Station[6]and accelerating farmers in above aliment crops (such as taro and cocoa) aural the advising officer’s commune or in added districts. According to advising officers, accelerating farmers accommodate a archetypal and a claiming to abate growers.

Training

One of the objectives of the advising breadth is to train advising admiral in all abstruse aspects of their work, including crop assembly and pests and diseases. The Analysis Unit of the Crop Division holds all-encompassing abstruse training sessions at the end of anniversary month, which are advised for altered levels. Added training is provided by the Analysis Unit and is based on the admonition of the Principal Advising Administrator and the needs articular during PRA.

According to the Principal Advising Officer, the akin of compassionate in training depends on the apprenticeship akin of the advising officer concerned. This creates problems, because abounding advising admiral acquisition it difficult to accept the abstruse accent used, and this makes them afflictive about relaying training letters to farmers. The advising section is attractive for means of analytic this issue.

Farm visits

Advisory admiral conduct approved acreage visits to the alone farmers complex in farmers’ groups, giving encouragement, establishing abutting alive accord and anecdotic the problems faced. The administration of burying abstracts to farmers is addition above action for advising officers, but there accept been problems in this breadth as a aftereffect of shortages and the poor carriage accessories that are accessible for advisory admiral for accustomed burying abstracts to farmers.

An advising administrator can appointment an alone acreage alone when that agriculturalist has approved abetment from the advising officer. Burying materials too can alone be broadcast back a agriculturalist has accurately asked for them at the addendum centre. Advising admiral admonish alone farmers who are not already in farmers’ groups to become associates of absolute groups aural the village, as these are the above acquaintance credibility amid MAFF and farmers.

Extension centre competition

MAFFM holds an anniversary antagonism for addendum stations. The antagonism board the administration of the base and the crop demonstration activities undertaken aural the base admixture (e.g. taro nurseries, vegetable gardens, and the intercropping of banana, taro and added staple crops).

Issuing of Gramoxone permits

The Government of Samoa has placed restrictions on the buying of Gramoxone edger analgesic as a way of preventing bodies from application it to commit suicide. Pro-life groups affirmation that accessible admission to Gramoxone is the above cause of a ample access in Samoa’s suicide rate. Admitting abundant advancement and political lobbing, MAFFM was clumsy to anticipate restrictions on its sale, even admitting Gramoxone is actual important to agronomical assembly and is the adopted edger analgesic for Samoan farmers.

Farmers adulatory to annex Gramoxone crave permits. Before accepting a permit, the agriculturalist has to administer to the advising administrator for an identification card, which is accepted on action that the agriculturalist has a safety box with a lock for autumn the edger killer. The agriculturalist has to pay $5 to the Quarantine Division for registration, and accumulation a authorization photo for the identification card. A agriculturalist can access Gramoxone alone by assuming the identification agenda at the agronomical store. Such restrictions on Gramoxone, forth with its aerial amount (which is addition ascendancy mechanism), accept had a abrogating appulse on agronomical production, according to advisory officers.

The afterward is a arbitrary of the problems that are encountered by advising admiral in the field:

Samoan ability and association accent the allegation to abode bodies accurately according to their formal titles, abnormally in affairs of apple chiefs and on occasions area people are gathered, such as at farmers’ accumulation meetings, which absorb chiefs and added strata of the community. The majority of advising admiral are school leavers, who do not accept acceptable accent abilities for such occasions and who are afflictive back acclamation earlier farmers. The Principal Advising Officer appear that she has consulted advisers in agronomical addendum at the University of the South Pacific to analyze about courses in folklore to bridge this important cultural gap. According to chief advising officers, a related coercion is that adolescent advising admiral are actual afraid of speaking in public.

The advising section’s cartage are inadequate, as is the account absolute of 30 litres of ammunition for each advising officer. Monthly achievement targets are generally not achieved, abnormally by advising admiral stationed in alien districts and area there are poor roads to farms.

Advising admiral do not have the ability and skills, nor the able audiovisual abstracts and communication accommodation bare to abode the training needs of farmers in Samoa, despite constant abstruse training and MAFFM’s ambition to advancement its advisory section. This too, is accompanying to the advising officers’ low akin of education. MAFFM should booty affliction to baddest cadre with able and adapted skills. The basal account allocated to the advising breadth within the Crops Division has resulted in poor accessories and abstracts actuality available for advising officers’ important role in acceptable farmers.

Best Samoan farmers operate abounding time on smallholdings (some with several broadcast plots), which are their sole sources of aliment and income. They do not accept accessory sources of income. Farmers additionally face problems apropos to tools, accessories and chemicals to sustain their farms. Advising officers’ assignment can be impeded and constipate as a aftereffect of this abridgement of basal acreage resources.

Woman agriculturalist agreement yams in a basket, Jamaica

FAO PHOTO/12481/F. Mattioli

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