A Kava training for farmers in the Northern part of Vella La Vella Island in the Western Province was deemed successful.

Farmers from three selected villages including Iriqila, Karaka and Valapata undertook the demonstration training from 17th-25th November 2020, facilitated by agriculture officers in the Western Province.

Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock (MAL), Chief Field Officer for Western Province, Sipuru Rove said the purpose of the activity is to guarantee farmers are educated on Kava nursery establishment to field management.

“This is a new cash crop and having farmers well versed with important information to grow it is critical for existing and interested farmers within those three villages, the province and even across the country.

“The programme involved more on field practicals and demonstration from nursery establishment to field management as such farmers’ expectation were well met and acknowledged and appreciated by all the communities especially the farmers visited,” Mr. Rove said.

Mr. Rove said it was an interactive training as participants were allocated into groups and were asked to discuss on simple questions prepared by the agriculture facilitators specifically on Kava nursery establishment and field management followed by group presentations and discussions.

“Reasons for adopting this approach is for the facilitators to know and understand the background information and understanding of the farmers about this new cash crop and also to certain facilitators understand farmers’ problems and simple advices be given to them (farmers).”

On field demonstration Mr. Rove said the focus was on Kava variety identification, nursery practices including Kava cutting selection, pre-germination process and nursery management, field planting and management and harvesting and processing.

However, Mr. Rove said one of the challenges farmers often faced with is the lack of knowledge and practical skills especially on the management aspect of this new crop and also finance obstacles for MAL officers to carry out trainings for farmers throughout the province particularly on kava crop.

Mr. Rove recommended that more Kava demonstration and training is needed to be carried out throughout the whole Province with the need and support of a training manual or factsheet for technical advices to farmers adding daily visit by officers to encourage farmers’ interest is of importance.

More than 133 farmers (participants) attended the training including 11 women farmers in the three villages.

A total data of 80,846 kava plants were collected in those three villages with an average of 608 kava plants per farmer.

Clemence Sivoro, Richard Bulehite, Natasha Kilo, Patrick Soruevo and Jason Soruevo from MAL, Western Province office facilitated the training.

Source: MAL Media