UNDP Assistance to Target Agriculture Extension Officers

Mar 3, 2016

Agriculture extension officers in the Western Division can expect immediate assistance to enable them to undertake urgent recovery work in farming communities severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working through the food security cluster, are providing support through projects already ongoing on the ground. These include the DFAT-funded Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP), alongside other projects focussed on improving livelihoods at the community level.

This assistance is crucial to enable agriculture extension officers, whose homes, offices, and equipment were destroyed or heavily damaged by the cyclone, to resume urgent work to assess and prioritise response and recovery work.

“We are very grateful to the UNDP and its projects for their quick response in assisting the Ministry of Agriculture to respond to the needs of farming communities who are struggling to recover following the devastation of TC Winston”, said Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Uraia Waibuta.

“This assistance, including the provision of temporary office space, will allow the extension workers to focus on data collection and other urgent tasks, which the Government requires as an immediate step to inform effective and well targeted response to the needs of the farmers.”

Based on the initial needs assessments, an amount of FJD$249, 260 will be needed to rehabilitate agriculture extension services across seven severely affected provinces.

“At this time of emergency, it is crucial to prioritise help to those who themselves are essential aides in the humanitarian response, so that they can turn in to assist those communities affected by Cyclone Winston,” said UNDP Resident Representative Osnat Lubrani.

“UNDP is pleased to reorient ongoing projects to provide immediate support through the Government-led food security cluster which will facilitate urgent humanitarian activities that must follow.”

“In our first wave of assistance, we were able to support Cluster Coordination through the establishment of a full time senior agriculture CCDRM project officer.”

Lubrani added, “We have also reprogrammed resources within UNDP to respond to urgent needs identified by the Government.”  

“Through this assistance Agriculture Extension Officers should then be better placed with the appropriate tools to better assist farming communities immediately as well as for longer term recovery.”

The UNDP’s support to the Fiji Government through the food security cluster is complemented with support from other development partners in this sector.

UNDP staff and their families have also complemented the efforts of the organisation and contributed to the needs of affected families, in terms of sanitary items, food items and clothing. The Local Staff Association is also donating FJD$1,000 to the ‘Prime Minister’s National Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation: Cyclone Winston’ fund.

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