Thursday, 30 January 2014

Web 2.0 training, Nadi, Fiji - 16th - 20 September, 2013

Bula vinaka!

I remember i once mentioned to friends who i  have been trying to persuade to get involved with blogging that "Time management is important to keep ones blog updated"!! Hence, my sincerest apologies for the late updates. 

I would like to share with you a very important training that i attended last year (2013) about Web 2.0 training in the Pacific. We learnt how to use Web 2.0 social media tools to share information on specific topics e.g. Exchanging/promoting/sharing of Agricultural information's through social media such as Facebook, twitter, blogs etc. 

There was a total of 23 participants from the Pacific Countries that attended the training. The participants were from Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Palau, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu. 

I was given an opportunity to present about my work and my experience on the use of social media which helps me promote and share my thoughts about Agriculture online.

You can find below my presentation and please do not hesitate to contact me for any queries yous might have. 

Web 2.0 Training and Exchange Workshop

Ms. Elenoa Salele
Land Resources Division
Secretariat of the Pacific Community
  • Bula Vinaka. My name is Elenoa Salele. I graduated from USP, Alafua campus with a Bachelor in Agriculture. I have had the pleasure of learning and working alongside professional staff on and off the field. From field work to the technical side of Agriculture at SPC. 

2nd slide:
                    Is Agriculture a “DIRTY JOB”??

  •  What are the views of why young people do not engage in Agriculture.

In one of the interviews for the Pacific Youth and Agri Strategy, some youths regarded Agriculture as a dirty job but personally I feel that Agriculture is our bread and butter. it provides food on the table, it’s a good source of money, food security and it develops our economy. I would say that they “DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE MISSING”!! 
2013 Web 2.0 participants
3rd slide: 

2012 web 2.0 participants

Web 2.0 participants - 2012
  • ICT (Information Communication Technology) is a great way to attract the attention and get the message across to our youths on the importance of Agriculture. We try to promote agriculture in the form of social media as many youths are on FB (Facebook), Twitter and  G+ (Google+) etc.
4th slide:

  • I have a Blog and a shared  Facebook account that promotes agriculture. Last year I created my own blog “Finding ME in the Agriculture World”
    I now have 23 stories on my blog. This has been a great exposure as I also get feedback from youths in ACP countries on my blog about some of the workshops, training's, conference, field work  I attended.   This blog is to basically explain everything that I ‘am involved in, work wise. The title says it all. I ‘am trying to find my spot on where I fit in. Where I ‘am headed and where I will end up in the Agriculture world.  What I write on my blog are mainly events which I partake in that I find very interesting.  For my blog Finding ME in the Agriculture world” (basically to find myself as a youth in the agriculture sector) – The blog is about myself, you may be wondering why it is about me, I’m an agri. graduate and as a youth I feel that after graduating we find ourselves drifting from one point to another. We do not know which field we want to be involved in or some of us do not get into the field that we really want to be involved in and this blog is also to help other youths who feel the same to basically find our footings and adapting to it. At the same time i post up scholarship opportunities for agri., farming and some of the workshops that i attended etc. 
5th slide: 

  • A particular social media success has been on my Blog, the piece about “Biogas Digester Effluent Trial” at Koronivia Research Station (KRS) and a comment also from a youth was later posted asking which effluent was used in particular. I was able to personally discuss my experience with the youth. It is a great feeling to know that youths are also reading your posts and sometimes we both learn from each other by information’s exchanged. This interest in biogas also feeds my interest in the piggery. 
6th slide:

  • One of the facebook account which I administer is called ‘Youth and Agriculture – Sustainability & Modernization through ICT’ . This is a shared account with Riten Gosaic. This page is for the people, especially the youths of the Pacific who are involved in agriculture or are thinking of making it a profession. The major objective of this page is to eradicate the stereotype (preconceived negative attitude) that agriculture is for the rural populace and a layman's subject. This page also aims to encourage the youth in saying 'yes' to agriculture. Remember, we in the pacific survive through agriculture. It is the Pacific mainstay and we need to prioritize it. Everyone is invited to share their ideas on ACP agriculture & improvements!
7th slide:
"Practice what you preach"

Drenching done by youths
Youths in Samoa

  • So! I would recommend that everyone should think of Agriculture as a field of study and source of investment.

     Thank you

“Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) in Agriculture by Pacific Youth and Smallholder Agriculture Enterprises”


Bula Vinaka Everyone!

It has been a while since I posted up another piece. I was just thinking of sharing with you a blog post that I had worked on 2 years ago with my sister Ms. Titilia on the “Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) in Agriculture by Pacific Youth and Smallholder Agriculture Enterprises”.

It is important for youths in our Pacific Region to learn and understand more about the importance of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in the Agricultural field.


We had conducted a survey on a smallholder enterprise known as Island Express Company in Nausori which exports taro to New Zealand. The company director is Mr. Viliame Naqelevuki


Principal Crop: Fresh Taro mainly tausala and maleka dina variety.
 Figure 1: Tausala variety in the shed.

Date Established: 01/10/2010

Members/farmers involved: Namosi, Naitasiri, Taveuni, Bua, Savusavu farmers and farmers in the Central Division.

Staff: Staffs employed are from the nearby village or communities.

Women do the cleaning and men do the packing and scaling of taro’s and packed into the container. Whilst processing, biosecurity officers will inspect, certify and release phyto certificate.

Figure 2: Women cleaning the taro
Figure 3: Men packing the taro

Average size of farming enterprise: Island Express does not look at the size of the farming enterprise but the availability of taro. Whichever farmer has taro ready to harvest the company goes to buy from them.

Production/Supply side: The taro variety that is in demand for export is “tausala” and “maleka dina” taro. Most farmers (suppliers) farm on a larger scale and takes 6-7 months to harvest the taro.  The company also educates farmers or encourages farmers to farm on a larger scale hence farmers would be able to produce more therefore earn more money. During grading the company would advise farmers which taro variety is best suited for export purposes and which ones is best suited for our local markets.

At the moment supply is low whilst demand is high. This has also affected the size of the taro.

Figure 4: Farmer supplying taro to the buyers
Transport: Island express provides transport to and fro from the farming sites in either to provide assistance such a as manures etc. to the farmers and also to assist in the harvesting of taro’s.

Harvesting: Once taro is ready for harvesting, the farmers calls there buyers. Island Express hence places there orders and advices the farmers on the day of their visit and the farmers would harvest there taro’s on that particular day of visit. In order to fill 1 whole container, at least 13 tonne (430 x 30kg bags) of fresh taro has to be packed. Processing is done every week depending on the availability of boat for export.

Value Adding Market: Taro is exported to New Zealand.      

Figure 5: Taro packed
DEMONSTRATED ROLE OF ICT (document contribution of ICT like mobile phones)

The term ICT in my own understanding would mean: “Gathering and dissemination of information’s and communications of individuals through internet i.e. emails, blogs, skype, video conferencing, television, radio, media advertisement, posters, newspapers, pamphlets and mobile phones, etc.

The main phases of the agricultural enterprise:
·         Supplying of manures to farmers
·         Placing of taro orders
·         Grading and educating farmers
·         Harvesting
·         Transporting of taro’s
·         Weighing on scale
·         Cleaning
·         Packing and
·         Marketing.

ICT is needed to manage an agricultural enterprise efficiently and it is important that the information’s and knowledge gathered is accurate or complete in order to deliver good decision makings.

Information’s about the agricultural enterprise’s task/functions and schedules of mentioned phases are disseminated to the farmers in means of traditional methods i.e.  Newspapers, pamphlets, posters, radios and television etc. This normally takes a longer time for information to reach the farmers hence verbal communication, phone calls and use of internet via emails are used as it is more efficient than the traditional methods.

Island Express had stated that their means of communication with the farmers (suppliers) is mostly done through mobile phone calls as it is easier and faster. Not all farmers have access to internet for communication via email with their buyers hence the use of mobile phones. Also most of the telephone companies offer special promotions like free bundle of calls and texts locally so this is not costly for both producers and consumers. Also internet network is not available in all the rural areas where farmers live. Some parts of Fiji e.g. the interior of Namosi, where there is no Vodafone, Digicel and Telecom Fiji Limited Network Coverage, farmers use satellite phones to contact Island Express when the taro is ready for harvesting or vice versa where Island Express calls the farmers to place orders on taro’s to be bought.

We should also bear in mind that a mobile phone has features such as a camera on phone. Farmers would be able to capture photos of pest and disease from the field with much finer resolution and then refer to Research organizations such as Biosecurity, SPC, etc. for identification and verification. This would assist in answering to the queries of farmers; hence enhancing their knowledge on the new found pests and diseases on their farm.

In other parts of Fiji for instance the interior of Namosi and Naitasiri (Tubarua village) none of the mentioned ICT tools above is available to the farmers including satellite phones and this is where verbal communication comes in. The staffs have field visits to the farms and verbally inform the farmers on their schedule e.g. date of grading, etc and also to educate farmers on what taro variety is high in demand from the export market. The staff of Island Express would have to drive up to Sawanikula point to meet the farmers with their taros. There are certain farmers in Tubarua village that lends their horses for hire to other farmers. One horse would carry a maximum weight of 140kg worth of taro on horseback per trip to the pickup point which is Sawanikula. A farmer and horse would have to cross the same Wainimala River 21 times to get to the pickup point.  
Figure 6: Taro being transported to pick up point
Markets in developing regions are about distributing information and most markets assume that everyone knows this information, e.g. cost of produce and processing times. Some farmers are not aware of market price in the urban areas and also internationally. One village would be selling at a different price from the other village. Mobile phones play an important role of keeping both parties i.e. producers and consumers informed on the costs of produce both locally and internationally.

Figure 7: Taro packed in container

Figure 8: Ready for export

In conclusion, mobile phone is seen to play a vital role of ICT in Agriculture. It connects both producers and consumers technologically in order to disseminate informations and communicate with each other.