Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Google mapping of small farmers sugarcane fields

As a follow up activity of the Web 2.0 learning opportunity, a joint project for the mapping of sugarcane fields in an irrigated zone has been initiated in collaboration with  fellow participant and colleague, Mr. Roopesh Ramburn of the Irrigation Authority. A brief of this project was also presented during the closing ceremony of the Web 2.0 training workshop which took place on Friday 27th July, 2012, at the University of Mauritius. 

Yash Ramdharee presenting the joint project at the University of Mauritius

View  A full presentation of the joint project

The idea behind this project is to develop a tool for monitoring and evaluation of sugar cane production in an irrigated project (St Felix Small Scale Irrigation Project) which was set up in 1998 and comprises some 175 small farmers on an area of about 95 hectares. It must also be pointed out a number of farmers in this project have since 2011 joined the Field Operations Irrigation and Regrouping Project which is being implemented by the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority with funds under the EU- accompanying measures for small sugar cane farmers as mentionned in the Multi Annual Adaptation Strategy Action Plan 2011-2015. Read more on The MAAS report 2006-2015

Mapping and updating of the individual farmers plots are expected to be completed by the end of December 2012 with the end of this years' sugar harvest season. The next step will be to share and use this information among interested parties.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Training on Web 2.0 tools for agriculture Faculty of Agriculture, UOM, 9th-13 July, 2012

I have been selected to follow a 5-day training course which is being hosted by the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Food and Agricultural Research Council (FARC) from 9th to 13th July, 2012, at Reduit.

High trainer-trainee interaction

This training course offers a unique learning and sharing opportunity in Web 2.0 tools and applications in the field of agriculture which is being attended by about 25 participants from different institutions in Mauritius. The course content covers advanced online searching, accessing information via alerts and RSS and collaboration remotely using wikis and Google Docs, using VoIP, online mapping and social networking.read more..

The highly motivated local trainers have till date kept a high level interaction and have provided practical guidance and inspiration to all the participants.

It is to be noted that this training opportunity appropriately fits into the present re-structure exercise of the nascent Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (MCIA Act, 2011). read more.. It will thus help to build capacity in view of the use of technological innovations and opportunities offered by the internet for accessing and disseminating of agricultural information more effectively with the small planting community and other stakeholders and partners.

The new extension and training department has no alternative but to embrace the panoply Web 2.0 tools in furthering its mission to improve the productivity and competitiveness of sugar cane planters, especially in the current difficult context of the sugar industry. 

It is up to us to make the most of Web 2.0 tools.

Extension and Training at the MCIA

A cane field prepared for mechanical harvest

The Extension and Training department of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (MCIA) is now operational since the enactment of the MCIA Act 2011. This is one of the major re-structure exercise undertaken by the government of Mauritius in the wake of the reforms of the Sugar Industry since early 2000's.

Extension and training function which was previously vested with the Farmers Service Corporation will be called upon to re-invent itself to offer even better services intented for its clientele which number about 23,000 throughout the island.