Info and communication are development tools

Farming, Normal

Seniorl Anzu in Nadi, Fiji

THE management of information and communication and the sharing of knowledge and resources is of decisive importance in the Pacific, ambassador Wiepke van de Goot, European Union head of delegation for the Pacific, said.
Mr Wiepke said this was so not only in response to major challenges such as climate change, increasing complex trade rules, migration, brain-drain, pressure on natural resources and HIV/AIDS but also to help rural communities and farmers in the Pacific to benefit to the largest extent possible from the opportunities that arise out of the countries’ richness in primary products and agricultural commodities like cane sugar, coconut products, cocoa beans and coffee. 
He made the statement in Nadi on Monday when addressing participants of a regional workshop on information and communication management policy and strategy in the Pacific.
More than 20 representatives from 14 different Pacific Island countries and territories are attending the four-day workshop, conducted by Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) in collaboration with Fiji’s secretariat of the Pacific Community.
PNG is represented by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, National Agricultural Research Institute, Coffee Industry Corporation, Cocoa Coconut Institute and the National Research Institute. 
“Although information and communication technologies have developed in an unprecedented manner during the last decades, many ACP actors, especially farmers, still have limited access to appropriate and timely information which could improve their production capacities and their market access at local, regional and international level,” he said.
Mr Wiepke said knowledge-sharing and information management were an element of a comprehensive rural development policy, along education and good governance.
“Information and communication management is the decisive tool that links together all initiatives. It is the focal point of rural development, without which the other policies would not be efficient.”
Mr Wiepke said rural areas were most affected by insecure livelihood opportunities, with three-quarters of the world’s poor estimated to live in rural spaces.
“This persistence of rural poverty is a major challenge for the development community as a whole and a moral obligation for all of us.
“But rural development and agriculture must also matter to us because of its crucial importance for the food security of expanding urban populations, the conservation of globally valued resource functions and landscapes and the climate change adaptation and mitigation process in the next decades.”
He said “knowledge grows when it is shared”.The workshop ends today.