University and Ministry of Agriculture strengthen ties

The University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) Agriculture Faculty and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have signed an agreement to collaborate and work on joint projects.

The agreement was signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Lopaoo Natanielu Mua, and Professor Arvind Patel of the University of South Pacific on Monday. 

Professor Patel said the agreement did not mark a new relationship as collaboration between the university and the Ministry had been in place for a long time. 

"This is not a new memorandum of understanding, we’ve had a relationship with Ministry of Agriculture in Samoa for a long time and we are just trying to renew our relationship now. I think the M.O.U had a falling behind two years back and we’ve been having some issues in the school and after which we have now ratified. 

"This is just renewing our commitment to work together with the Ministry of Agriculture in terms of joint projects in terms of actually trying to adjust the Ministry of Agriculture’s requirements for graduates and kind of programs that we deliver," he said.

The goal behind the renewal of the working relationship between the Ministry and the university is to boost the learning experience of their students, according to Professor Patel, who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics.

"Not only for Samoa for to the others in the region, because the university of the south pacific agriculture is for the region and we want to ensure that our graduates both undergraduate and postgraduate get relevant programmes and training.

"M.O.U. allows us to work within certain boundaries to cooperate in projects, that doesn’t require the Head of School or anybody to go and seek other decisions from higher levels of the university, this is to try and give the School of Agriculture the freedom to work very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture with their own decision making process. 

"We want a very free flow of communication and we don’t want any bureaucracy on the working between the Ministry and the school of agriculture at U.S.P.," he added.

The Ministry-U.S.P. agreement will contribute to the development of the agricultural sector, said Minister Lopaoo. 

"Because you got to remember that The University Of The South Pacific actually has the theoretical expertise and also, they do have the practical experience as well, within USP but real life experiences in terms of what happens in the ground in the farming community is the ministry of agriculture, so we are combining those aspects.

"And I’m sure with that kind of mix, we will come up with a lot of solutions and will probably promote other ideas that probably haven’t been tried out yet.But of course there is nothing new under the sun but in terms of learning from each other; I think that we’ll find that there will be some new aspects of agriculture that we will learn from them and vice versa," he added. 

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