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Pests, disease advice at show

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, November 11, 2017

FARMERS visiting the Western Agricultural Show this week in Nadi were able to seek advice about pests and diseases affecting their produce, thanks to an initiative by the Pacific Community (SPC), European Union and the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture.

Growers were invited to bring photographs or plant samples to a plant health clinic held at the show, where experts from the Agriculture Ministry and SPC assisted them in identifying pests and diseases and provided advice on treatment.

Experts from the EU's Improving Key Services to Agriculture project documented plant samples and gathered content for the production of training videos on plant health and nutrition.

According to SPC, the videos would be made available to farmers from SPC's website and YouTube channel.

EU Delegation head of co-operation for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner said the EU was proud to support the IKSA project because it assisted farmers with practical support.

"Training will better identify whether a plant has nutritional deficiency, identify pests and diseases and will improve the ability of the farmers to address problems efficiently," he said. "In addition, the easily accessible videos will allow the farmers wide outreach."

SPC director general Dr Colin Tukuitonga said the clinic and training videos would provide accessible solutions for farmers and a reference resource for agricultural extension officers.

"This is an example of valuable research-based solutions that SPC continues to bring to the people of the Pacific," he said.

"The clinic and videos will complement the Pacific Pests and Pathogens App that was developed by SPC, which can be downloaded onto mobile devices for instant access to fact sheets and images of pests and diseases."

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