Training aims to improve farmers' financial skills

Women farmers' abilities to generate agricultural surpluses were central to a Government-led public-private sector collaboration held in association with the Australian University of Canberra.

Chairman of the Market Access Working Group, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, said that the event is part of the Family Farm Training Programme. It aims to train locals to be able to train farmers themselves, particularly women.

The aim of the training, he explained, is to not only improve farmers' subsistence abilities but to increase their income.

“Those who are in the training will get a certificate from the University of Canberra saying they attended and our goals is to send them out to villages to go and help our communities to start training them on how to plan better and to think not only for subsistence farming but also to start value adding and doing more things to increase that income,” he said.

Tagaloa explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught farmers and consumers of the need to achieve food security.

But he said feeding families should not the only goal for farmers.

He said the programme is helping local communities to not only continue their agricultural activities as a means of subsistence living but also to increase the income they earn. 

Tagaloa said once farmers achieve agricultural surplus they can pay for school fees, better schools, healthcare and a general standard of living. 

The training is part of a medium-long term plan.

“The usual challenge with agriculture development is that limited access to finance,” Tagaloa said.

He said that the long term plan is to help families improve their financial position and to expand and increase their operations with a view to growing supplies for the export market.

Tagaloa said that there have been talks about increasing commercial farming but said its biggest challenge is access to finance.

He said money is needed for the equipment, to pay workers and the required materials.

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