First Plant and Animal Health Workshop underway

Participants of the opening of the first ever Plant and Animal Health Workshop. Photo: DARD

Over 70 extension and field officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) from across Vanuatu are attending the first ever Plant and Animal Workshop in Port Vila. The workshop aims to increase the field worker’s understanding on animal and plant health so that they can better respond to emerging risks in rural areas, said the Director General (DG) of MALFFB, Moses Amos. “Biosecurity is a cross-cutting issue across the government sectors,” he said.

“Extension and field workers represent the MALFFB in the rural areas and not just an individual department. Biosecurity is everyone’s business.

“Everyone is serving the same government regardless of different departments. As ambassadors of MALFFB and the government, we should be creating positive footprints in rural areas.” DG Amos said the perception of blaming the Department of Biosecurity for biosecurity risks such as the introduction of fire ants and Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) must stop.

“The government has injected a lot of money into increasing production thus, we have to be able to respond and manage biosecurity risks,” he emphasized.

He urged extension and field workers to make use of the workshop in preparing themselves for the task ahead.

DG Amos encourage the officers to embrace challenges as opportunities during service delivery so that they become more better.

Senior Biosecurity Officer, Sylvie Boulekouran, said participants will learn how to detect, manage and respond to plant and animal diseases.

She said it is important for the field officers to boost knowledge on plant and animal health so that they can explain to farmers.

The Department of Biosecurity needs everyone’s support to protect the country from pest and disease incursions, she said.

The workshop will end with the official launching of the International Year of Plant Health on Friday.

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