TONGA PAPAYA TRAINING CONCLUDES ON HIGH NOTE

The Growers’ Federation of Tonga – PIFON first series of Training Program in Best Practice Commercial Papaya Production concluded on a high note – with the final sessions of the program on the off-shore island of ‘Eua located to the South East of the Kingdom’s main island of Tongatapu.
The Second day
Our last report covered events up to the end of the first day (Wednesday April 08th 2015) of the first two-day program for growers from the Eastern District of Tongatapu. That first program was concluded successfully at the end of Thursday April 09th 2015.
The second day (Thursday April 09th 2015) focused mainly on a ‘classroom’ session reviewing the previous day’s sessions / activities and as well as very informative questions / answers sessions and final roundup discussions. The highlight of the day was the concluding activity – a very informative and illuminating field / site visit to the High Temperature Forced Air (HTFA) establishment and as well as quarantine areas at the main island’s airport which is right across the road from the training venue.
Participant comments were high-spirited and positive overall. All appreciated the opportunity to see this facility and to learn of how critical it is for their proposed export produce to be of quality and exportable quality – otherwise it would not pass the stringent scrutiny of border control – and never get to the bigger lucrative overseas markets! All were also reminded that quality control and assurance starts right from ‘day one’ – when seeds are sown in to nursery.
Central and Western Districts
A timetable reschedule saw the original program planned for the Western District growers being modified – with growers of the Central District being also joined in – and the overall program duration being reduced to a single day due to time constraints.
The day however was very successful and beneficial overall. Information sharing and practicum activities were the same as had earlier been presented for the Eastern District growers. It was again also possible for the group to visit the High Temperature Forced Air (HTFA) establishment and as well as quarantine areas at the main island’s airport.
Comments and uptake from this group were the same as from the first group – and again included also very positive impressions / appreciation of the HTFA facility.
Concluding Session – ‘Eua
The culmination and highlight was the ‘Eua session (Tuesday April 14th and Wednesday April 15th 2015) – which was very well received, supported and positively appreciated by all participants, as well as the facilitator and other stakeholders.
The venue was Tonga’s own School of Agriculture – i.e. the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga’s ‘Hango Agricultural College’ which is located on the island. The program therefore had access to and was generously offered back-up by the College’s equipment and facilities resources.
The training program content – with few variations – remained basically the same as for the Tongatapu participant growers.
Overall, the whole program – both for Tongatapu and ‘Eua was a success. It was an opportunity which opened up prospects and possibilities to which growers were able to relate. The information shared – especially on agricultural value-chain analysis – laid to rest a significant galaxy of lingering doubts and issues.
Mr Livai Tora from Fiji, the program overall Facilitator departed Tonga and returned to Fiji on Thursday April 16th 2015.
The Growers Federation is very grateful to PIFON for the generous support and for making Mr Livai Tora available for our growers here in Tonga.

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