As part of the delivery of the Agriculture Sector Policy, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has committed to upgrading the technical skills of those working in the agricultural industries. DARD has formed a partnership with Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) to fund and deliver a Skills Development Priority Project in 2019 and beyond as part of this commitment.
The first activity in this project has now been successfully delivered as a workshop to enhance some of the most urgent training needs for DARD staff. The Professional Skills Development Workshop at Lonnoc Bay, Santo from April 9-11, 2019 covered the role of extension and the importance of clear communication and community engagement when working with farmers and their communities, along with basic computing skills (for the more junior staff) and the role of leadership and management (for those in senior roles).
The workshop was attended by 51 DARD staff along with VSP representatives and fully qualified consultants. The target audience was Assistant Agricultural Officers, Provincial Agricultural Officers and Technical Officers. Feedback from the workshop attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with most of those surveyed stating that their core skills and understanding had been considerably enhanced. Among the few complaints was that more time would have been useful to explore all areas more comprehensively. The Skills Development Priority Project will continue with the Vanuatu Extension Forum scheduled for July in Santo. DARD hopes to use this event for the Ministerial launching of the Vanuatu Agricultural Extension Policy.