The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in partnership with Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) are currently undertaking a professional skills development workshop for provincial agriculture officers, technical officers and assistant agriculture officers throughout the country.
This first ever three-day workshop of its kind that brought officers from the six provinces of Vanuatu began yesterday and is the biggest gathering to date for DARD.
Agriculture Director, Antoine Ravo, said agriculture extension services dropped then the comprehensive reform programme resulted in the government centralizing the services at provincial headquarters. The Director reminded the participants of the principles that DARD is operating under, which is to be ‘strategic, innovative and high performing’.
“In this three-day workshop, some outcomes we want to see this year is to develop a smart extension services,” he said. “This smart extension services can only happen through partnership and skill that we have. We are happy to have this partnership (with VSP), which also reflects the policy of the Minister of Agriculture on the concept of Public-Private Partnership. We want to outsource some of our services such as provision of training to institutions such as Vanuatu Skills Partnership to help us upskill in areas that we need to improve in.
“We have to be skillful on time management. The Prime Minister says a lot of time public servants are weak in their time management to attend a meeting or to go to work or to respond to a farmer.
“We have to be skillful in communication. Sometimes when I call an officer they do not answer their phone but when it is time to work you have to communicate with officers and farmers.” Director Ravo added, “We have to be skillful in report writing. This is an area that we need to improve in to write a simple report that we can make decisions on and do proper planning.
“To collect data is also an area on how to collect good data to make a good report.We have to be also skillful to implement policies, strategies, legislation and business plans. If we do not understand it, our plans will be very hard to be implemented as well as priorities for the Department and Ministry.
“I believe we can do it and this can only happen through partnership that we have with stakeholders and one of them is here with us to run the workshop for us, which is the Vanuatu Skills Partnership.” The Director thanked officers present at the workshop for their work in the provinces.