Picture 1.Representative of Taipei Trade Office in Fiji Ms Jessica Lee (2nd from left) PS Agriculture Ritesh Dass (2nd from right) during the ground breaking.
Smart farming will soon get a major boost in Fiji, at the completion of the building of the first of its kind Agriculture Technology Centre in Vuci outside Nausori by late 2022.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Representative of Taipei Trade Office in Fiji, Ms. Jessica Lee said the new $FJD2.86m Vucimaca Centre for Agricultural Technology Transfer (CATT) was to help further harness the potential of Fiji’s agricultural sector and the impact of COVID-19.
“It’s a new chapter for Taiwan-Fiji agriculture cooperation partnerships, a new era for Fiji’s advanced agricultural development, and a stepping stone to the world’s newest trend of ‘smart farming’”, she said.
Ms. Lee said smart farming was an agricultural revolution with science and technology at its heart.
“By integrating high-technology digital innovations to the farming system, we could increase yields while reduce the operating costs and crop damage, and minimize the usage of water, fuel, fertilizer and pesticide for environmental friendly,” Ms Lee added.
She said the Centre would house; two smart greenhouses built with sensors of controlling lighting, temperature, humidity and data mining for high valued crops cultivation and production where these were weather resilient to cyclone and earthquake. Furthermore, there will also be a Smart plant tissue culture lab for manufacturing healthy seedlings production and seedlings preservation.
“There are also environmental sensor systems for weather forecasting and pest monitoring and prevention, smart irrigation system for save usage of water, fly drones for fertilizer and pesticide spray,” she said.
According to Ms. Lee, the Training Centre was designed for three-level programs where the Taiwan Technical Mission would work with the Ministry of Agriculture, to provide training programs, workshops, and seedlings for farmers; work with vocational schools and universities to provide the intermediate level technology programs and research program for the students, and lead in carrying out the latest advanced technology demonstration.
Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Mr Ritesh Dass thanked Miss Lee and the Taiwan Technical Mission for the initiative that would contribute to technology transfer that would focus on providing hands-on technical knowledge to students, agriculture officers and farmers.
“It is noted upon completion, this facility will provide the latest technology in agricultural production which will enhance the capability of staff of the Ministry and our key stakeholders.
“The act of learning itself is no longer seen as simply a matter of information transfer, but rather as a process of dynamic participation, in which stakeholders cultivate new ways of thinking and doing, through active discovery and discussion, experimentation and reflection,” the Permanent Secretary said.
Mr Dass said the Ministry would also partner with universities on research and development.