The ministries has 9 divisions, which includes:
Utilization of ICT in Agricultural Extension
"With the financial support of the EU AAACP (All Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Agricultural Commodities Program), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is helping develop an MIS for the Pacific initially focusing on fruits and vegetables, and tree crops. However, participants at a recent regional workshop wanted to broaden the scope to include such information as market prices at key regional markets such as Australia and New Zealand, including prices of inputs, information on weather, road conditions, etc. Lack of capacity is a major challenge to integrating new information into existing systems.
... UNCTAD will work to improve on the Fiji MIS with major partner the Ministry of Primary Industries through Fiji AgTrade, which is mandated to facilitate trade and commodity development. Fiji MPI have an existing agricultural helpdesk which directly helps farmers with information requests. Plans are in place to have four call centres to bring this assistance closer to the rural areas."
"Fiji lies in the heart of the Pacific, physically isolated from the main centers of the world population and trade by thousands of kilometers of ocean. The Fiji group consists of some 300 islands with a total land area of about 18,000 square kilometers. About 100 of these islands are inhabited. There are two major islands – Viti Levu, which is 10,429 square kilometers and Vanua Levu 5556 square kilometers. Eighty three percent of land is owned by indigenous Fijians while nine percent is State land and eight percent is freehold land. ...
Only 16 percent of Fiji’s landmass is suitable for agriculture. The population of Fiji is about 800,000 with 54 percent living in the rural areas. Due to Fiji’s isolation, its economic relations with the rest of the world are impeded by problems of both cost and speed in its transport and communications. More over, the spread of the islands over the vast ocean area is in itself a problem to development. In addition to high developmental costs, because of high capital and managerial requirements there are problems with high internal cost of transportation, primarily because of smallness and isolation from each other. This is further exacerbated by the sparse and scattered nature of the populations in the outer islands.
nearly 50 percent of total employment and contributes 19 percent to Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sugar and subsistence farming are still the dominant
activities of the sector. In recognition of agriculture’s importance to the economy and to the rural community, the Ministry of Agriculture has committed itself to the sustainable development of Fiji’s primary sector resources. The objectives are to accelerate sectoral growth through greater diversification and exports, to guarantee food security and to improve the living standards of rural people.
Components of the agriculture sector include sugarcane, livestock, crops and subsistence production. The sector will also focus on human resource
development and on the strengthening of its support services including quarantine, crop research and land and water resource management. Sugarcane production provided 30 percent of GDP in 2001 and other sectors 70 percent ranging from 5 percent each of forestry and livestock to 32 per cent for
Expiry of some 10,300 farm leases over the next 25 years is resulting in experienced tenant farmers leaving the sugar industry while landowners are entering with limited capital and experience. The industry’s prominence was boosted by preferential prices in the European Union, which paid three times world prices. Over the next few years, the EU will reduce prices to world prices, requiring a restructure of the sugar industry. While some farmers will continue to have to leave or enter commercial agriculture, others will gradually increase the scale of farm enterprise. This however relies on improved access to markets for non-sugar agricultural products, improved farming technologies, rural finance and readily availability of knowledge and information.
stations, but extension takes this knowledge and makes it available to the farm family. Rural Extension therefore, is the process whereby knowledge is
communicated in a variety of ways to the farm family.
Agricultural extension work has a venerable although largely unrecorded history. The use of the word ‘extension’ derives from an educational development in
England during the second half of the nineteenth century. Around 1850 discussions began in the two ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge about
how they could serve the educational needs, near to their homes, of the rapidly growing populations in the industrial urban area. It was not until 1867 that a first
practical attempt was made in what was designated “university extension”, but the activity developed quickly to become a well-established movement before the
end of the century. Initially most of the lectures given were on literary and social topics, but by 1890s agricultural subjects were being covered by lecturers in the
rural areas (Jones and Garforth). The growth and success of this work in Britain influenced the initiation of similar activity elsewhere, especially in the United
States of America.
In the Southern Hemisphere, extension work also became established in Australia. Several agricultural societies were formed in the second half of the
nineteenth century, although their effect was slight, but as the state administrations became more organized departments of agriculture were established in the 1870’s and 1880’s with the aim of developing the potential of their territories. The establishment of extension in Fiji is difficult to trace though in the recent past various theories have been developed on the issue. It is believed that extension system was initially introduced by the European settlers. European settlement in Fiji began with the teaching of Christianity by European Missionaries in the early nineteenth century. These missionaries were followed by European Traders and large-scale coffee, cotton and sugar planters. The High Chiefs of Fiji ceded Fiji to Great Britain in 1874. Following this, there was a greater European interest in Fiji. The European brought with them entrepreneurship, know how and capital. However, farm labor was required to work on large European states. The Colonial Government at the time was also interested to develop local production and trade.
A Fijian villager with his secure and leisurely way of life was not attracted to wage employment on plantations. In any event the Colonial Government discouraged
the use of the Fijian labor on plantations. Eventually Europeans had to import labor. In 1879 the British Government brought workers from India under the
indenture system to work on banana, coffee, sugarcane and other plantations. Some 60,000 Indians were brought to Fiji and at the end of the indentured
system in 1916 while some of them returned to India most of them stayed back in Fiji. They later became cane growers. It is believed that extension system was
introduced by the British Sugar Company during this period. However, after Fiji’s Independence in 1970 extension services became enshrined in the
Today, Fiji has a large and widely dispersed extension system. The agricultural extension systems in Fiji could be defined in accordance with its
mode of action. And that which assists farm people, through educational procedures, in improving farming methods and techniques, increasing production
efficiency and income, bettering their levels of living and lifting the social and educational standards of rural life. Its aim is to teach people living in rural areas how to raise their standard of living by their own efforts, using their own resources of manpower and materials, with minimum of assistance from government. Also by encouraging local leadership and a spirit of self-help extension develops civic pride and the progressive growth of the community.
The organizational structure of the extension division is founded on rural based personnel who are in close and continuous contact with farm families, supported
by specialists and supervisory staff at sub-provincial, provincial and divisional level.
The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for all crop and livestock development, with the exception of sugar cane, which is serviced by the Fiji Sugar Corporation but with major emphasis on the crops of economic importance to the country.
To ensure the best use of resources available, Agricultural Extension has adopted a system of specialization and zoning. Using land-use surveys the
areas most suited to the crops have been defined and an intensive extension programme drawn up to develop the crops in these areas. This involves specialists training extension staff to cover all aspect of a particular crop from land preparation to processing and marketing. This type of training gives extension officers a greater confidence when talking to farmers and this confidence is reflected in the response from the farmers. Under such a system, the extension officers approach to farmers is very important and with officers specializing in a particular commodity which is concentrated in an area, it is possible to form farmer groups for training purposes. These groups have a common interest and are from the same area, which makes it easier to organize Farmer Field Days on a local farm where farmers can see new techniques and discuss problems on a farm similar to their own. Where farmers feel that there is a need for co-operative action in processing and marketing, they are given encouragement and assistance to form a co-operative society. This has proven particularly successful in the processing of cocoa in Vanualevu the second biggest island and vegetable farmers in the Sigatoka Valley.
The system of officers specializing in particular commodities and the zoning of commodities to particular areas does not prevent the extension officer from
giving advise on any crop problem a farmer may have. Advisory services are available to all farmers on any crop he is growing and the extension officer in the
field has the backing of all the support services within the department, e.g., plant pathology, soil analysis, land use, drainage and irrigation etc.
The extension system forms an important part of rural development and to be successful there must be a high level of co-ordination within the agriculture
department, from research, land use, marketing and processing organizations and other stakeholders. This coordination must also include other government,
and non-government agencies, which are concerned with rural development. Efforts to promote selected commodities on a project basis in an area is usually
assisted by other government departments within a district, with each department contributing towards the success of the project. However, Government, being the main source of finance is the main player in determining the extension strategies. The extension services provided by Government are free of charge.
Industrial actors, NGOs, donors and others play an important but generally secondary role towards the extension services in Fiji. Private sectors such as Fiji
Sugar Corporation, Fiji Pine Limited provide commodity based extension services through one to one communication and group meeting approaches.
Other private companies are involved in the provisions of agro-inputs to farmers and also purchase farm produce for export. These companies also provide
extension services but informally as farmers are also aware of their main objective to that of selling agro-inputs.
In recent years international donors like FAO, CTA and several overseas governments have been involved with agricultural development mainly assisting
in project developments and training of agricultural officers. These donor countries and agencies like EU and Secretariat of the Pacific Community have
introduced during the project the different approaches to Fiji’s extensions system, which is proving success in the agricultural sectors. For examples from the usual one to one communication or top down approach the Rural Participatory Appraisal Methodology have been introduced by EU and SPC.
Several farmers associations also exist in Fiji, but with exception of two, others have very little involvement in extension services as they are pressure groups
usually lobbying for changes in policies. The two organizations, Rewa Dairy Cooperatives and the Fiji Ginger Council provide the usual farm advisory services to
The Ministry of Agriculture provides several extension services to farmers: crop, livestock, dairy and among others drainage and irrigation. Apart from the major role of technology transfer, the services have also become heavily involved in a wide range of activities: input supply, administration of credit, policing of regulations and collection of statistics. In carrying out these responsibilities the extension, providers have formal links with various organizations. First and foremost with the Fiji College of Agriculture where teaching of extension is part of the formal agricultural curriculum in the Diploma in Tropical Agriculture Programme. Secondly, apart from the formal links with other Government departments within and outside the Ministry of Agriculture, there are links with exporters, airfreight and shipping agents, other agricultural educational institutions, and farmers associations. There are also semi-formal links and these are mainly to Youth Groups and women organizations. The informal networks are mainly with traditional village set-ups in the indigenous community and the religious organizations in the settlements. During these interactions usually agricultural related discussions are held which also assists in the transfer of technology.
Source: Prakash, Kamlesh Shashi. (year ? after 2003) ICTs – transforming agricultural extension? A case study of Fiji. Ministry of Agriculture, Sugar and Land Resettlement, Fiji. (Retrieved 5/16/2011)