About 500 sugarcane farmers, including women and youth from communities in Fiji’s Western and Northern divisions, will benefit from an income generation training programme being implemented under the European Union (EU) and Pacific Community (SPC) Micro Projects Programme (MPP).
The skills training, which began last month, will enable 500 sugarcane farmers to diversify their livelihood and/or income generation sources through providing them with technical skills as well as improving their access to markets.
The EU-funded MPP project is partnering with Oxfam in Fiji to deliver a series of training workshops between November 2017 and February 2018. The workshops are being driven by the interest of the farmers themselves. The training is facilitated by a local NGO, Foundation for Rural Integrated Entrepreneurship and Development (FRIEND).
It is estimated that 120 farmers will be trained on beekeeping, 100 farmers will receive free-range poultry training, 100 farmers on organic cash crop farming training, 200 farmers will receive training on food processing and 40 on employability skills.
“The European Union is pleased to support the MPP project which notably has been providing solar home systems to households in Fiji’s sugarcane farming communities. We also acknowledge that this income generation training is an important component of the project which will provide an opportunity to enhance the knowledge and skills of farmers. It will also enable them to adopt a sustainable approach to income generation activities and in turn, improve their livelihoods,” said Emmanuelle Guiheneuf, Acting Head of Cooperation, at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific.
SPC Director General Dr Colin Tukuitonga said: “SPC is pleased to be partnering with Oxfam in Fiji to implement this valuable income generation training with farmers. We hope that the technical training will make a genuine difference to sugarcane farmers, women, youth and farming communities.”
An MPP household survey conducted with cane farmers in Fiji’s Western division in May 2016 highlighted that approximately 70 percent of sugarcane farmers engage in small scale income activities such as selling of vegetables. Five percent engage in fishing, a further five percent in nursery businesses, whilst 10 percent of the women sell handicraft such as mats and 10 percent sell livestock. Poultry is seen as an additional income activity.
The Micro Projects Programme (MPP) is a five-year project which started in October 2013 and which will run until June 2018. The EUR 4.3 million project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). The Pacific Community is delivering a number of projects that are funded by the European Union’s Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) Programme, across Fiji’s sugarcane belt. MPP is one of those projects, covering Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Rural Electrification, and Hydrological surveys.
Debbie Singh, SPC Sugar Projects Communications Specialist │ Email: [email protected]