A partnership between the Navuso Agriculture Technical Institute (NATI) and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) is helping strengthen the quality of agriculture training for Fijians, including opportunities for more women to become qualified farmers to develop and expand their agriculture business.
The Australian Government, through APTC, is supporting NATI to improve training for women in agriculture. The Australian Government funded the recently completed refurbishment of the women's dormitory, as well as the construction of an inclusive ablution block, a greenhouse for vanilla production, a basic plastic house for vegetables and high-value crop production, and a drying shed for pandanus leaves.
NATI was established by the Methodist Church of Fiji and is a registered provider of the Certificate in Agriculture (Integrated) – Level IV. The course promotes women’s participation in agriculture.
During her visit to Fiji 20 – 24 August, the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Christine Clarke CSC, visited NATI to see the improvements made to the Women in Agriculture initiative and to meet the 13 women farmers currently enrolled.
The Ambassador unveiled the newly-renovated Adult Training Centre which will be used by the technical staff of the Fiji Agriculture Ministry and other stakeholders for short-term in-service and non-accredited agriculture training programs.
“It was an honour to hear from female students about their background and experiences in the course. I was also delighted to hear that the newly renovated facilities are contributing to a supportive environment for encourages women and girls to learn, grow and thrive in the agriculture sector,” the Ambassador said.
The partnership builds on the existing work towards improving employment opportunities for Fijians in agriculture, enhancing training delivery and facilities and developing NATI’s institutional capacity and quality standards.
The Head of NATI, Mr Uraia Waibuta, said NATI deeply appreciated the collaboration with APTC and the development of programs that target women and girls.
“Because of our partnership with APTC, we have been able to ensure that the woman and girls enrolled in our programs have the best possible chance of success and are able to complete their learnings in an environment where they feel valued and safe. This will allow our female students the chance at gaining sustainable economic independence and provide pathways for them into the agriculture sector.”
The upgrade to the training facilities is benefiting students like Ms Baciseva Tinai, who is in her final year in the Certificate in Agriculture program. She said the refurbishment had provided a modern touch to the training environment that would improve her learning experience.
The Australian supported partnership, contributes to the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture’s 5-Year Strategic Development Plan to establish and develop commercial agriculture in Fiji.
APTC is assisting NATI students with a study pathway into the Australian Certificate II in Agriculture qualification from this semester. There is also ongoing capability development of NATI trainers through the International Skills Training delivered by APTC.
Additional support is also being provided to NATI in the accreditation of a national Certificate in Dairy Level II and the National Certificate in Meat Works Level II with the Fiji Higher Education Commission to boost Fiji’s dairy and meat works sector.