3 July 2015
NEW TECHNOLOGY TO HELP PROTECT AGRICULTURE IN SOLOMON ISLANDS
Agriculture extension officers will now be armed with the latest technology to help boost food crops and combat pests and pathogens affecting production. Last week Biosecurity Advisor to the Solomon Islands Mr Bob Macfarlane presented 27 digital tablets to Mr Michael Ho’ota, Director of Extension from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock for use by Extension Officers in the Provinces.
The tablets were provided through the Australian/Solomon Islands Biosecurity Development Program funded by the Australian Government.
The new tablets were loaded with the recently developed App “Pacific Pests and Pathogens” containing fact sheets on over 250 pests of plant crops throughout the Pacific.
Speaking at the handover, Mr Macfarlane said “Most of the pests in the App are present in Solomon Islands so the fact sheets will provide essential information on their identification, biology and methods of control,”
“In addition some pests in the App are not present here in Solomon Islands, so the tablet will also help with early detection of new pests, strengthening biosecurity in the region.”
The tablets have also been loaded with a large number of PDF documents on agriculture in Melanesia. These documents include books, pamphlets and leaflets prepared in Solomon Islands, PNG and Vanuatu by the relevant ministries from over the past 50 years.
“Equipped with their new tablets, agriculture extension staff now have access to what constitutes a portable agriculture reference library in their back pocket capable of providing essential information while in the field.” Mr Macfarlane added.
Following the meeting Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock staff visited farms on Guadalcanal where they were able to put their tablets to practical use in identifying pests they observed during their visit.