Farmers to be given skills in marketing and packaging


This would be among the different projects the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry hopes to carry out for farmers and fishermen during the course of the year once funds from the US $3million loan expected soon from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (Ifad) is made available. 

The Minister for Natural Resources and Industry Peter Sinon gave these details during Question Time in the National Assembly on Tuesday while answering a question by majority party member Maria Payet-Marie.

Mrs Marie had asked Minister Sinon if his ministry was considering organising education workshops and skills development sessions for farmers and fishermen on how to better package and market their produce.

Minister Sinon said big traders who supply goods and fresh produce to hotels and other establishments have expressed the desire and willingness to trade with local farmers and fishermen provided their produce meet the required standards.
“The market and other development opportunities for our local producers are there and waiting to be tapped into,” said Minister Sinon. 

Reaffirming his ministry’s commitment to ensure farmers and fishermen get the best deals and benefits from their hard work, Mr Sinon said his ministry will also address other relating issues like handling and dealing with post-harvest losses and explore ways to put in place the necessary mechanism and structure to help farmers cut down on post-harvest losses.

In answer to a supplementary question relating to the development of agro-tourism (a concept which encourages visitors to experience agricultural life at first hand) in Seychelles, Minister Sinon said his ministry has already requested help from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to produce a policy paper which would clearly define the concept in our local context.

In answer to a question by majority member Sylvianne Valmont relating to the ministry’s plans to develop agriculture on the outlying islands, Minister Sinon noted that since Seychelles signed the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Plan (CAADP) in 2011 steps are being taken to obtain resources for the project. He noted that the ministry is working closely with all its partners in the venture and in collaboration with the Island Development Company soon technicians will be visiting the islands with potentials for the project.

In line with that Minister Sinon said the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) is working on a master plan for aquaculture and mariculture with the help of Ifad.
Relatively the minister said talks are under way with the Commonwealth of Learning to explore ways to integrate young Seychellois farmers in the agriculture industry.