The Fiji Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has launched its Seeds Processing and Storage Unit gifted to the ministry under the New Zealand funded Pacific Seeds for Life (PS4L) programme at its Sigatoka, Fiji Research Station.
Coordinated by the Pacific Community (SPC)’s Land Resources Division, in collaboration with the Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, the PS4L programme helps to address the food and nutrition security in vulnerable communities in the Pacific, in addition to developing sustainable seed systems.
The Fiji MOA processing and storage unit will assist the Sigatoka Research Station to process open-pollinated seeds and bulk up on their quantity of seeds for distribution to local farming communities.
Dr Mahendra Reddy, the Fiji Minister of Agriculture, said the support from development partners SPC and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), will pave the way in further improving the infrastructure, facilities and equipment used to process open-pollinated seeds at the research station.
“The future plan now is the commercialisation of seed production. As you know seeds are very important for agricultural development. In terms of collaboration with SPC and MFAT, we are looking at introducing new varieties and new lines of open-pollinated seeds to extend our diversity of seeds so farmers have a better choice in selecting from a variety of crops.”
SPC’s LRD Director Karen Mapusua added that local governments will play a key role in supporting the scale-up of activities under the PS4L programme.
“The major outcome of the programme is the development of sustainable seed systems for Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, who are all beneficiaries of the PS4L programme. In Fiji, the PS4L programme will work closely with the Sigatoka Research Station, Koronivia Research Station and Tutu Rural Training Centre in Taveuni.”
MFAT Second Secretary Political Courtney Rose said it was pleasing to see the progress made under the PS4L programme under the stewardship of SPC and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.
“Ensuring that farmers have access to good quality and virus free planting materials is vitally important for improving their yields and incomes. And there has never been a more important time to do so than right now as Fiji continues to recover from another incredibly tough year for many following the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The seed processing and storage unit is earmarked to not only benefit Fiji, but the region, especially neighbouring island countries that may want to pursue a similar seed programme.
- Pacific Seeds for Life (PS4L) is a NZ funded integrated programme implemented by the Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (MWLR) in partnership with the Land Resources Division (LRD) of SPC.
- The project covers the six Pacific countries of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to address the food and nutrition security of any vulnerable communities.
- The major outcome of the project is the development of sustainable seed systems for resilient and food secure communities. To achieve this, the project will focus on the following broad activities:
- Create awareness and understanding on the importance of diverse and quality seed,
- Build knowledge and skills of stakeholders on the conservation and development of a diverse portfolio of quality seeds
- Help strengthen seed networks for effective distribution of resilient and high nutritional crop varieties.
This story was originally published at SPC on 21 December 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.