IRETA: a window on the South Pacific
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CTA. 1986. IRETA: a window on the South Pacific. Spore 1. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44432
Towards the end of 1980, the Heads of Agriculture of the South Pacific Islands agreed to support the University of the South Pacific (USP) in establishing an Institute for Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture (IRETA), using the resources...
Towards the end of 1980, the Heads of Agriculture of the South Pacific Islands agreed to support the University of the South Pacific (USP) in establishing an Institute for Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture (IRETA), using the resources of the School of Agriculture (SOA) at Alafua, Western Samoa. The University Council, with its regional representation, ratified this and sanctioned the use of funds required to initiate the work of the Institute All the senior academic staff of the SOA are members of IRETA and work jointly with I R ETA staff to serve the needs of the South Pacific Islands in their development programmes. The heads (directors and permanent secretaries) of agriculture in the region review the activities of IRETA annually, and give broad directions for its future involvements. The European Economic Community (EEC) was IRETA's initial aid donor. Under its Applied Agricultural Research Programme, it provided substantial funds for regional consultancy, technical assistance, equipment for research projects, training and for improvement of facilities. The training centre complex, completed. in May 1983 consists of a traditional Samoan fale as a conference hall, restaurant facilities, an eight double-bedroom motel wing and a three-room IRETA office. This building and its surroundings provide accomodation and conference facilities for regional participants in agricultural programmes and for agricultural scientists from abroad. During 1985, conferences were held at IRETA and at other centres in the region. Training activities The USAID South Pacific Region Agricultural Development Project (SPRAD), initiated in 1980, was designed to contribute to the research extension and training activities of IRETA and to the teaching programmes of the School of Agriculture, with the broader objective of promoting agricultural productivity and furthering the socioeconomic development of the rural peoples of the South Pacific. During 1985, the SPRAD Project provided seven agriculturalists, the agricultural liaison officers in the region, vehicles, equipment and post-graduate training for four USP staff members. SPRAD has also funded training through regional workshops. In addition to EEC and USAID funding, IRETA has received substantial support from New Zealand, Australia, UK, West Germany, the Netherlands and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation. Furthermore, organizations and institutions such as UNDP/FAO, the South Pacific Commission and South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation, have continued to help USP, whenever this has been required. IRETA has established new linkages with the Commonwealth Consultative Group in Agriculture Agricultural students from overseas, for example those from the University of Reading (UK) and Wageningen (the Netherlands), have spent periods of up to one year at Alafua, engaged in experimental agriculture. This has formed a valuable part of their studies, and their contribution to research has been considerable. Publications IRETA has three regular publications which help to disseminate information on agriculture: the 'Alafua Agricultural Bulletin' (AAB), issued three times a year, 'The South Pacific Agriculture Teacher', issued quarterly, and the 'IRETA South Pacific Agricultural News', with 11 issues per year. In addition, IRETA publishes 'AgroFacts', and occasional research and extension bulletins. A network of Agricultural Liaison Officers (ALO), based in different countries of the University region, provides an important link between IRETA and Ministries of Agriculture. During the course of 1985 IRETA undertook applied agricultural research that was relevant to the region; strengthened national programmes of agricultural extension; recognised the importance of vocational agriculture and the need for introductory courses on this subject in high schools; and provided onthe-job training for those engaged in agriculture. IRETA plans to maintain and improve its services in 1986.