Monday, January 17, 2011

Farmers need effective information material

From left are Prof  Anthony Youdeowei and Solomon Islanders Peter Trena and Rosemary Alabae discussing extension materials needs with farmers at Kamba village, outside Madang town
The effective and efficient dissemination of agricultural technical information to the farmers will help to boost agriculture development in the Pacific island countries including Papua New Guinea.
This was the message given to participants attending a two-week extension training workshop in Madang province.
Madang provincial administrator Bernard Lange, in officially opening the CTA/IRETA workshop on participatory production of agricultural extension materials, told participants from PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu that agriculture was still the important livelihood for majority of Pacific islanders and they needed reliable and relevant information on agricultural farming practices and other technical information.
Participants at the CTA/IRETA Extension Training Workshop pose for a group photo at Madang Resort Hotel.-Pictures by JACKSON KAUMANA, DAL Information Branch

“It is important that agricultural extension officers and others are trained to develop appropriate extension materials which can be disseminated more widely and in a timely manner to the farmers,” he said.
“Agriculture is still the livelihood of the majority of our people in the Pacific and PNG is the largest Pacific nation with over 80% of people very much dependent on agriculture.
“It is therefore an important initiative by CTA, IRETA and Department of Agriculture and Livestock to train the participants in developing materials to improve dissemination of technical information to farming families to change their farming practices to improve their living standards.”
Lange said information dissemination and awareness on agriculture would help in enhancing agricultural production that would improve the livelihood of farmers and their families.
He commended the three organisations for choosing Madang to host the workshop, adding that his province and administration were proud to be part of the government’s programme in implementing some major agriculture initiatives in the province, including food security, particularly on rice production.
“Through collaboration with other agencies, a successful rice extension programme has been implemented and the extension materials developed through this programme are among the best in the country, thanks to DAL,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of CTA director, Dr Michael Hailu, course director Prof Anthony Youdeowei said the workshop aimed to strengthen capacities in the communication of the outputs of agricultural research to farmers through the use of relevant agricultural extension materials to smallholder farmers.
He said the general objective was to strengthen individual and institutional capacity to improve the practical communication skills of agricultural extension agents as well enhance their ability to write and produce extension materials for field staff and farmers.
The course will enable participants to identify sources of agricultural information and acquire skills to develop materials in formats appropriate to the rural population they serve,
Prof Youdeowei said he believed the knowledge and skills gained would enable the participants to improve their professional careers and capacity building in producing extension materials to effectively promote the communication of agricultural research results to smallholder farmers in the Pacific.
He thanked the DAL, CTA, IRETA and Madang provincial administration for their cooperation in facilitating the workshop.
Among the participants are four from Solomon islanders and three ni-Vanuatu.
The PNG participants are from various agricultural commodity agencies, provinces and DAL.
Assisting Prof Youdeowei is Mohammed Umar, Director of IRETA.
It ends on Friday.

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