Monday, 15 July 2013

Fertiliser company to open in Fiji facility

Hello bloggers!!!

Here's an interesting read of a Samoan-based company that is expected to invests in Fiji soon. The company, "Soil Health Pacific Ltd" would be a major boost to Fiji's agricultural production.

Source: [pafpnet] Media Release: Fertiliser company to open Fiji facility

Monday 15 July 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva.

SHP Products.jpg.jpg
A leading fertiliser manufacturer has announced plans to open its first outlet in Fiji – a move that is expected to provide a major boost to Fiji’s agricultural production.

Samoa-based Soil Health Pacific Ltd will invest around AUD 60,000 for the new facility and equipment. The company is working with its business partner, Organic Agriculture Fiji, to begin operations in the next couple of months.
The expansion has been assisted by the European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, which is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The main goal of the project is to strengthen the export capacity of Pacific countries and territories in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock.
Currently, 28 enterprises in the region are being provided support to become export-oriented and market-driven ventures that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive products.

Over the last year, IACT has assisted Soil Health Pacific in the purchase of a new brewing plant for the production of liquid fertilisers. Training of staff and local farmers on biologically focused fertility programmes is also supported by IACT. These programmes combine conventional and organic methods to offer farmers smart choices to improve soil and plant health, leading to improved agricultural productivity.
In the near future IACT also plans to offer assistance in other areas, such as marketing and branding of products sold by the company.
Established in 2010, Soil Health Pacific produces a range of liquid fertilisers which include biological brews that contain live micro-organisms (fungi and bacteria) to assist in stimulating plant growth. The company also produces a range of granular fertilizers.
Speaking about this new market opportunity, the Managing Director of Soil Health Pacific, Edwin Tamasese, says that there is significant potential in the Fiji market for the company’s products.
This, he said, is evident from the demand for fertiliser in Fiji. The company has supplied 100 tonnes of fertiliser to Fiji this year.
‘Fiji has a mature agricultural sector from a conventional point of view, but there is significant scope for progress, particularly in areas such as organic sugar cane production or even just lower fertiliser input and higher sugar output approaches. There are many other areas in the growing agriculture sector in the country which will give ample opportunity for our company to identify farmers that we would like to work with,’ he added.
Tamasese explained that the IACT project has played a critical role in enabling the company’s expansion in Fiji and in providing valuable training for staff and farmers.
‘IACT has had a major positive impact towards our development in a very short timeframe. Without IACT's support we would very likely be a year behind in our progress compared to where we are today,’ he stated.
Soil Health Pacific is considering markets in Tonga and Papua New Guinea for possible expansion in the near future.

For more information: contact: Ashley R. Gopal, Media & Communications Assistant - IACT, Land Resources Division, SPC, Suva, Fiji (Tel.: +679 337 9492; email:; or you may contact the LRD helpdesk: or visit the SPC website:

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Updated - CTA Media Competitio​n on ICTs for Agricultur​e

Hello again!!

I received a very interesting email this morning. Thought of posting it on here for y'all to check it out. Give it a thought, brainstorm & start writing away... 

This is a good opportunity for your voice to be heard on your thoughts of "ICTs for Agriculture". 

Good luck!! 

Media Statement
CTA announces ACP media competition on ICTs for agriculture

[Wageningen, The Netherlands, 15 April 2013] – The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) in collaboration with its national, regional and international partners is delighted to announce the launch of the 2013 African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) media competition on Information and Communications Technologies for Agriculture (ICT4ag). 

Open to ACP journalists working for print and online media, the competition aims to encourage media to investigate challenges and opportunities for involving use of ICTs in agriculture, showcase success stories and best practices that can be replicated and raise awareness on the important role of these new technologies in agricultural transformation. 

The competition is being held in conjunction with the International Conference on ICT4ag, which will take place from 4 – 8 November 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda. The top six finalists will be supported to attend the conference and provide media coverage. The top three winners will be selected on the basis of an original article they will produce during the event. Competitors are invited to discuss one of the three following topics:

  • Enabling environment for the agricultural sector to maximise the benefits from ICTs
  • Gender mainstreaming through ICTs for efficient/effective agricultural activities
  • Use of ICTs to boost access to markets and facilitate agribusiness 

Interested journalists are invited to send in one original unpublished article in English or French to, copying  by 15 August 2013.  The guidelines of the competition are available at

Competition Guidelines for ACP Journalists, 2013

Several prizes to be won!

Co-hosted by CTA and the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and supported by an impressive array of international organisations, the international conference ICT4ag offers participants the opportunity to discover exciting opportunities and cutting edge technologies. Representing the public and private sector in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific and further afield, delegates will discuss how increased investment and adoption of ICTs in the agricultural sector will contribute to improved value chains as well as more effective advocacy and policy processes in agricultural and rural development. In addition, they will share ideas and knowledge, discuss new approaches, best practices and experiences. Issues related to ICT trends and their impact on agriculture, capacity building, enabling environments, scaling up and sustainability will also be discussed. For more information, see: .

The competition is aimed to encourage ACP journalists working for ACP print and online media to investigate the challenges and opportunities for ICT contribution to agriculture and showcase success stories, best practices as well as challenges and opportunities. 

Focus areas: The journalists are required to submit original unpublished articles with concrete examples, which correspond to one of the three areas below: 

  1. Enabling environment for the agricultural sector to maximise the benefits from ICTs
  2. Gender mainstreaming through ICTs for efficient/effective agricultural activities
  3. Use of ICTs to boost access to markets and facilitate agribusiness
a.            Good understanding of challenges and opportunities of ICTs in agriculture
b.            Originality of topic/approach
c.            Quality of structure 
d.            Quality of language (engaging writing style, good spelling and grammar, etc.) 
e.            Depth of analysis
f.             Relevance of examples and testimonies 
g.            Presence of bibliography and/or other relevant references
h.            Respect of the prescribed format of the text  

The competition is open to journalists who are nationals of ACP countries working for print or online media

Type of articles:  you can chose one of the following types
  • Analysis paper: 
  • Field report
  • Opinion pieces
  •  In English or French language·         
  • Number of words: between 1,200 and 1,500.            
  •  Font : Arial;             
  • Size of characters : 11             
  • Line spacing: 1.5 
  • Document in MS Word           
  •  Inclusion of original infographics is allowed    
  •  Additional document required: one page biography of the author 
Your article in English or French language must reach the organizers by 15 August 2013 to be considered for inclusion in the conference. Applicants can submit their entry in French or English to with a copy to .  

Note:We do not accept audio or video entries, nor question and answer type of text. 

An international panel of judges from the media will review and score submitted articles and make recommendations to CTA.  

The top six finalists will be announced in September, 2013. The six finalists will be fully supported to attend the international conference on ICT4ag in Kigali, Rwanda. They will also each receive Euro 1,000 (one thousand) prize. During the conference, the six finalists will be asked to write an original article based on one topic discussed during the conference, taking into account expert opinions case studies and arguments. 
The top three “Winners” will be announced during the international conference on ICT4ag. They will be selected based on the above mentioned criteria. The overall “Winner” – 1st place, will receive an additional Euro 1000. The second place winner will receive an additional Euro 500. The third place winner will receive an additional Euro 300. The top 3 “Winners” will also receive CTA trophies and book prizes. 
 The prize giving event will take place on 7 November 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda, during the International Conference on ICT4ag. More information on the contest will be available at

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it does not meet the present guidelines;
  • By entering, participants warrant that their entry materials are original and unpublished, and do not infringe on any third party's rights;
  • Entry to the contest constitutes an agreement to allow CTA to make, if necessary, articles, name, occupation and state of residence of applicants, public; 
  • In addition it constitutes an agreement to allow CTA to publish the articles and infographics in its print and online publications and in the framework of promotional activities. Applicants will retain copyright and all other rights to future use of their articles and infographics;
  • CTA will not be obliged to return submitted articles to their authors;
  • All local taxes and fees on awards and prizes are the sole responsibility of the winner;
  • If, for any reason, the competition is not completed as planned, CTA reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend it;
  • The decisions made by the panel of judges and CTA are final and beyond dispute;
  • All participants in this competition implicitly accept the guidelines presented in this document.
Media Contact:
Samuel Mikenga
Tel: +31 317 467 101

Monday, 25 March 2013

[Youth] Blogging Competition for Youths/social media correspondent

This might be of interest to you!! 

Grab the exciting opportunity to be the official Social Media Correspondent for Asian Youth Forum co-hosted by Asian Development Bank (ADB) ADB and Plan India on 30 April to 01 May 2013 and for the Civil Society Program at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank on 02 May to 05 May 2013 in New Delhi, India.

Here’s how to join the contest:
  1. Write a compelling blog post on the importance of the youth in driving development. The entry must be refreshing, inspiring, and reflective of your unique views on the topic.
  2. Follow @ADBandNGOs and @Plan_India on Twitter.
  3. Tweet @ADBandNGOs and @Plan_India the link to your blog entry. Use the hashtag #whyyouth
  4. Fill up the registration form and send to 
  5. Rush your entries no later than 30 March 2013 (23:59hrs +8 GMT)
Click on this link for more information:

Please note: That some Pacific States (see below) are member of the Asian Development Bank and this can be an opportunity for youths from these countries.

*ADB member countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, People's Republic of China, Cook Islands, Denmark, Fiji Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, India, Germany, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, the Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei,China, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam

Young farmer = young scientist = young entrepreneur = a bright future for Pacific organics

The title itself says it all.

Please take time out to read this very interesting article and feel free to share your thoughts.


A programme to build capacity of youth in organic agriculture commenced last week in Nukualofa Tonga. The programme is the outcome of a partnership between the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom), Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the United Nations Development Programme, OXFAM New Zealand and the Tonga National Youth Congress.

The over all objective of this project is to enhance livelihood opportunities for youth in organic agriculture through training trainers and extension providers from organic associations in sustainable organic production methods. These organisations provide ongoing mentoring and support to young farmers and link youth agricultural enterprises existing organic certification and market chains.

Dr Shane Tutua explains simple experiment to gauge relative soil organic matter content in soil from conventional and organic farms
The Pacific is facing an aging farming population, the SPC Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy also highlighted that Agriculture is not being seen as a viable career option for young people and is often viewed as the job for ‘drop outs’. UNDP Representative, Asif Chida pointed out in his opening remarks that this creates grave concerns for future food security in the region. He noted that farmers hold the health of our nations in their hands and we need to create interest and opportunities for youth to engage in farming as a business.

The POETCom Coordinating Officer Karen Mapusua noted: “the average age of organic farmers world wide is 5 to 8 years younger than conventional farmers – it is attractive to younger people because it addresses the concerns of young people such as climate change and environment and well as providing livelihood opportunities. Youth can feel they are more than labourers, that they are actively contributing to a better world.”

The train the trainers workshop held March 11 - 16 is a pilot programme in the Polynesia sub region. The 30 participants, 2/3rds of who are under 35, are from NGOs and organizations from across Polynesia including Niue Island Organic Farmers Association, Titikaveka Producers Association, Cook Islands; Women in Business Development, Samoa; The Department of Agriculture American Samoa; the Tonga National Youth Congress and Tonga Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Extension and Women’s Division.

These organizations provide extension support and advisory services to the growing number of organic farmers in the Pacific region and to youth or schools farming programmes. After this pilot there are plans to take the training to Melanesia and Micronesia and to make the training kit for organic agriculture the Pacific which is being developed widely available.

The trainers are Karen Mapusua, POETCom coordinating officer; Dr. Shane Tutua, a soil scientist and farmer from the Solomon Islands; and Kamilo Ali, Livelihoods Programme Officer from OXFAM New Zealand. The workshop covers the principles of organics, soil and plant health and animal husbandry.

As the workshop progressed participants engaged in active discussion calling on traditional practices from the various countries and sharing some of the scientific explanations behind them as well as undertaking a variety of experiments and practical activities that highlighted that to be an organic farmer is really to be a scientist.

Also discussed were certification requirements and the role of organic guarantee systems in building consumer confidence and developing markets for organic products- confirming the need for development of business and entrepreneurial skills amongst young farmers.

By the conclusion of the workshop it was agreed that to engage youth in organics and the opportunities it provides we need to change the way we look at and talk about farming as a career and that extension providers are well placed to lead this change.

POETCom is the peak organics body for the Pacific region, and its secretariat is based at SPC with funding support from the EU Increasing Agricultural Commodities Trade project (IACT). POETCom’s vision is that Organics and Ethical trade will be the key contributors to sustaining our cultures and communities; improving farmer livelihoods, communities, people’s health and the environment in the Pacific.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sustainable Small-Scale Poultry Production: Are Local Feeds a Viable Option for the Pacific Region?

Sustainable Small-Scale Poultry Production: Are Local Feeds a Viable Option for the Pacific Region?

Author: P.C. Glatz, Science Leader, Pigs and Poultry, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Roseworthy Campus, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5371, Australia
Date: 09/07/2012

The lack of regional small-scale feed manufacturing plants, high cost of imported feed and cheap imports are holding back the development of the smallholder poultry sector in Pacific countries. As there are adequate supplies in some regions of locally produced feed ingredients (cassava, sweet potato, coconut, maize), the prospect for alternative feedstuffs is in the semi-commercial or family poultry units. For these sectors, profitability rather than maximum production is the objective, and alternative feedstuffs can make a useful contribution in poultry feeding.

In his article, Glatz examines four feeding strategies to produce effective poultry rations that are in line with the regional availability of feed resources. With a complete ration formulation using local ingredients, egg production was significantly lower in birds fed the local mix ration compared to the commercial ration. Testing free-choice feeding, the birds showed the capacity to regulate their intake according to their physiological requirements, provided that the three food groups were readily available. Using a mix of concentrate with local ingredients, birds fed a 50/50 sweet potato / low-energy concentrate or a 50/50 cassava / high-energy concentrate diets were able to reach market weight in due time. A 70/30 sweet potato / low-energy concentrate diet was effective only in the more suitable environment of the Western Province of PNG. Diluting commercial broiler finisher with 20-40% copra meal resulted in similar growth as the 100% broiler finisher control diet (inclusion of 60% copra meal resulted in somewhat less acceptable growth). 

Poultry farming in the Pacific using local feeds can be competitive and achieve 30% feed cost savings when mini-mill equipment is readily available and small-scale regional feed manufacturing centres (producing 5-10 tonnes/week) are built where local feed supply is plentiful.

Source: Knowledge for development

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Check this out! "ACCESS AGRICULTURE"

This might be of interest and very useful to yous .. distribute this out to your networks please.

Access Agriculture is an international NGO which showcases agricultural training videos in local languages. Here you can see examples of videos, download them or order a DVD copy. The audio tracks can also be downloaded by radio stations. This is a platform for agricultural R&D staff, service providers, extension agents, communication professionals and representatives of farmer organisations to see what training videos are available and request new language versions. The videos are all designed to support sustainable agriculture in developing countries. For maximum impact in improving opportunities for farmers explore Access Agriculture.

Be part of a platform for change.

Check out this link for more information 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Fiji Budget announcement on Agriculture, Fisheries, Forests and ICT

Happy New Year Everyone!

So we started of the new year with GREAT NEWS for our youths as Fiji PM and Minister for Finance Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama presented the 2013 Budget.


Fiji budget announcement on Agriculture

Major initiatives to encourage our young people to become farmers. We will set up a scholarship program in conjunction with Fiji National University in which 50 Form Six or Seven graduates each year will attend a 12 month certificate course that trains them in various agricultural disciplines. When they graduate, each student will receive a loan package to the value of $70,000, to cover the costs of:
100 acres of farm land

  • A tractor and basic farm implements
  • Fertilizer and other materials
  • A house and shed
  • And start-up cash of $2,000

Each student will be supervised by an agricultural extension officer, and given specific performance targets. The Government hopes to attract many more young people to become farmers, give them sustainable livelihoods, boost the nation’s food security, and reduce Fiji’s dependence on imported food.
Collectively, $94 million is allocated to the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forests and Lands & Mineral Resources in 2013.

Agriculture is a vital sector of our economy, and we especially need to do what we can to help our nation’s farmers maintain a productive and efficient agricultural sector.
Existing programs under the Department of Agriculture will continue next year with total funding of $5.6 million.  This money will cover the development of coconut, cocoa, potato, ginger, vanilla and rice crops.  We will further boost the rice revitalization program with technical and financial assistance from the Chinese Government.

To do their jobs, farmers need cheaper tools. In 2013, we are expanding the zero-duty rate for agricultural implements to make them more affordable. All other current agricultural incentives will continue.

An additional $2.7 million will also be allocated for livestock development.

$1 million will be allocated for the development of the dairy industry.

In the fisheries sector, we have provided $1.8 million for the development of various fisheries resources such as aqua-culture, mari-culture and the raising of brackish water species, as well as seaweed and pearl cultivation.

We are providing $600,000 to establish a multi-species hatchery in Ra.
In forestry, we will promote sustainable forest management practices by allocating $500,000 for the Biodiversity Enhancement and REDD Plus programs.

$5 million is also allocated for the Land Reform Program, to make more land available for productive use.
We will also continue the highly successful CBUL program that encourages landowners to re-lease land for productive use. Under this program, Government subsidises lease payments by 4 per cent. This increases lease payments from 6 to 10 per cent.