NORTH KONA, HAWAI'I -- From Bamboo to Black Pepper, Cacao to Coconut and Tea to Taro -- Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands provides detailed cultivation, value-added, and marketing information for 26 of the most important specialty crops for Pacific Islands and other tropical locations.
Specialty crops provide a rapidly growing economic opportunity for innovative farmers and gardeners who are interested in diversifying their products. The book provides insights into sustainable cultivation and processing techniques for local and export markets with an emphasis on innovating production methods, postharvest processing, and marketing.
The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural development (CTA) went a step further in its commitment to capacity building and knowledge sharing amongst young agriculture enthusiasts and youth in related professions, in the ACP region, as it organised a Youth Exchange and Training Workshop on Web 2.0 for Agricultural and Rural Development in partnership with the Institute for Scientific and Technological Information (CSIR – INSTI) of Ghana. I had the honour of being the only participant from the Pacific.
This workshop, which was organized in the framework of the ARDYIS (Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society) project, aimed to train selected best participants of the ARDYIS essay contest organized in 2010 in advanced web 2.0 tools and to support networking among youth involved in the project. Participants came from 17 ACP countries.
The event was held in Accra, Ghana, from 7 to 11 March 2011 and had two components - a training workshop (4 days) on selected Web2.0 tools and an exchange meeting (1 day) on the challenges and opportunities of agriculture for youth in the information society.
Are young people interested in farming?
These depend on the possibilities they see in terms of work, wages and livelihoods. A thorough survey has shown what young people in the Pacific think, and different efforts are already showing positive results.
The important role which young people play in farming was recently highlighted in a new study by a group of eminent experts and representatives from the world’s major agricultural organisations to identify the top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture (Pretty et al., 2010).
Among the questions asked was “what steps need to be taken to encourage young people to study agricultural science?” An important question, but surely only part of a larger question we should all be thinking about and acting upon. If we are looking at “the future of global agriculture”, the question needs to be framed differently. What we need to ask is: what is the capacity of farming to attract and absorb young people, to provide them with fulfilling work, a decent wage and a rewarding career and livelihood?
The Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet) recently held a ‘PAFPNet Youth in Agriculture Essay Competition’. The contest was an initiative of PAFPNet to promote the ‘Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy’ that was recently launched at the Fourth Regional Meeting of the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) held in early September, 2010, in the Fiji Islands. The essay was also initiated to encourage young people to give their views about the challenges our Pacific Youths face when engaging in agricultural activities.