Friday, March 30, 2012

Manual for Best Practices in Soil Conservation and Soil Fertility Management

Press Release

Participant at the workshop
The farming community in Seychelles was recipients of copies of a Manual for Best Practices in Soil Conservation and Soil Fertility Management at a workshop held at Care House on Thursday 29th March.

Donating sets of manual
The manual was drafted by Mr Keven Nancy, the Principal Officer for Research and Development Section of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency in consultation with other local counterparts and with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the Sustainable Land Management project being managed by the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit.   

Mr Denis Matatiken, the CEO for the Seychelles National Parks Authority and also the alternate Director for GEF in Seychelles, donated sets of the manuals to the CEO of SAA, and the representatives from the Seychelles Farmers Association, the SAHTC and the National Library respectively.  The donations were made in the presence of the Special Advisor to the Minister for Natural Resources, Mr Antoine Marie Moustache and representatives of the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit.

Participants at the workshop was given an overview on the contents of the manual, its purpose and also had the opportunity to learn more on soil conservation and soil fertility management practices.  Such practices aim at reducing the adverse effects of agricultural activities on the environment, including the cultivated slopes, the streams and rivers, the coastal plains and the marine environment.   
New CEO of SAA Mr. Marc Naiken delivering his opening address
In his opening address for the workshop, Mr Marc Naiken, the newly appointed CEO of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency, said that “the rapid degradation in the Agricultural Sector (particularly the crop section) has led to loss of interest in new ideas pertaining to crop production and many farmers / technicians has left the industry.” He further added that “The Sustainable Land Management Project has injected a new dimension of capacity building through the empowerment of farmers to solve problems on their farms.”  He stressed on the role that SAA has to play to ensure that the local farming community continue to benefit from sound technical advice for future growth of the sector.
The Sustainable Land Management project has since November 2010 under an activity entitled “Development and Implementation of SLM through soil conservation and soil fertility in agriculture” funded several small projects for the farming community including: training for over 60 farmers held on Mahe and Praslin on the subject of soil sampling; purchase of several pieces of soil testing equipment for the soil laboratory of SAA; incorporating the mainstreaming best agricultural practices in the SAHTC Curriculum; a field guide for collecting, packing, labelling and transporting soil samples; and also the financing for the drafting, design and printing of the Best Practices Manual.
An MOU was signed in 2011 between the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit and the Seychelles Agricultural Agency for the construction and enhancement of the Soil Laboratory.
One of the purposes of the workshop was also to seek the views of the farmers and other stakeholders who attended on the fees being proposed for the use of the laboratory in order to ensure sustainability of the services provided and also to validate the proposals for mainstreaming best agricultural practices in the SAHTC curriculum.
The presenters were Mr Keven Nancy, Mr Barry Nourrice and Mr Jean Alcindor.

Mrs Veronique Herminie (FCCA)
National Programme Coordinator
Programme Coordination Unit

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eggplant Fruit and Shoot Borer (Leucinodes orbonalis)

Eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) is a damaging pest of eggplant. Its larvae feeds inside eggplant fruit, making the fruit unmarketable and unfit for human consumption. Entire crop can be lost from EFSB damage.EFSB feeds almost exclusively on eggplant. It can infest crops in 4 main ways. The most common source of infestation is EFSB moths which  fly in from neighboring eggplant fields that have already been damaged. Eggplant seedlings used for transplanting can sometimes be carrying eggs or tiny larvae, this is especially true if one uses slightly older seedlings that are raised near an EFSB damaged older crop or heaps of dried eggplant stubble. The issue of lack of crop rotation; (that is if the previous crop grown in the field was also eggplant), the EFSB pupae from the previous crop resting within the soil will become adults and infest the new eggplant crop. Anothe source of infestation is if old, uprooted eggplant plants are stored nearby, the pupae from underneath such plant debris can develop into adults and infest the eggplant crop.

Infestations usually begin when the eggplant plants start to flower. No control is needed before this time. Insecticides used before symptoms appear are wasteful and will kill predators, which are important natural enemies of EFSB.
         The first visible symptoms of pest activity are freshly wilted shoot tips. In crop that have not yet set fruit all larvae go to the tender shoots and feed inside these plant parts.


When a larva becomes mature, it tunnels out of the fruit at night and 
descends to the soil for pupation. Exit holes are clearly visible in fruits 
but may not be obvious in shoots because of the hairiness of shoot.

Once insect infestation begins, it can continue until the final harvest. In Seychelles, EFSB has been sighted on Praslin, La Digue and certain areas of Mahe. Effort to keep the population under control is under way but the participation and corporation of everybody is of great importance.

The ideal way to control EFSB 

For the time being the following management practices are being encouraged:- 

Farm Hygiene. Keep the farm free from Debris. 

Use plastic as a source of mulching in eggplant to prevent the fully grown larvae to pupate 

Remove and destroy the affected tender shoots, fallen fruits and fruits with  bore holes 

Use of pheromone lures to trap male moths 

Reducing the use of insecticides in order to permit the natural enemies of EFSB to proliferate  

Avoid continuous cropping of eggplant crop 

Avoid using alternate host in crop rotation

(Since moths can fly from one field to another, it is important that all farmers in a community work together to keep EFSB under control.)

(HOW TO CONTROL EGGPLANT FRUIT AND SHOOT BORER,  AVRDC THE WORLD VEGETABLE CENTRE  P.O. Box 42, Shanhua, Taiwan 741 Tel: ++886-6-583-7801 Fax: ++886-6-583-0009Website: )

(PRESENTATION  Eggplant Fruit and Shoot Borer, JULY 2011 Barry Daniel Nourice   TNAU)

(Presentation on  Eggplant fruit ans shoot borer trial using Pheromone traps)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quality, Affordable, Seychelles, Produce from West Hill Farm, MADE IN SEYCHELLES

West Hill Farm Promotional Material

Courtesy of Beryl Payet
Owned and run by husband and wife, Daniel & Beryl Payet, West Hill Farm was started in 2005 and is an affiliate company of West Way Farm which has been in existence for the last 15 yrs.

In 2005, West Hill Farm was just a dream, waiting to come true. Lots of hard work at hand and two willing people with an aspiration and above all the will to make it happen.

The year 2010, saw a new era for WHF, new technology and mechanization, meeting targets, standards and customers' expectation. There's more to come!

Photos courtesy of West Hill Farm Fb

Friday, March 18, 2011

On-Farm Trials Workshop

Courtesy of Seychelles Nation
On Thursday 10th March 2011, the Agricultural Extension Services Section and the Crop Research and Development Section of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) jointly organised a workshop for farmers at the Anse Royale Community Centre in which the preliminary results of on-farm trials carried out in 2010 were presented and discussed. Also present were Minister Peter Sinon, Mr. Antoine Marie Moustache, the Chief Executive Officer of the SAA, Mr. Gilbert Port-Louis, the Principal Officer of the Agricultural Extension Services Section, Mr. Georgie Belmont, the Head of the Seychelles Agricultural Horticultural Training Centre and the farmers’ association representatives. The event was covered by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation and the Seychelles’ Nation.
The presentations were given by officers from the Research and Development, and the Agricultural Extension Services Sections.

Topics covered included:

-Evaluation of layer and broiler chicken manure and cattle manure in Chinese cabbage in red soil under open field condition (Val D’endore ‘West’ Mahe);

              Extension, Research & Farmers collaboration
Transplanting on the farmers field

- Evaluation of four different modes of bio-pesticides for the control of leaf miner in tomato (Port-Glaud ‘North West’ Mahe);

- Evaluation of four different types of bio-pesticides for the control of leaf miner in Chinese cabbage (Anse Royale ‘South’ Mahe);

-Evaluation of different rates of broiler chicken manure in banana on red soil (Barbarons ‘West’ Mahe);

-Evaluation of Lucin-lure and Wota to control eggplant shoot and fruit borer under open field condition (Grand-Anse, Praslin & La Digue);

Issues/ topics of concern except for the pheromone trap (Lucin-Lure) trial were identified during a series of workshops carried out by the Agricultural Extension Services Section’s staff with small groups of farmers to get them to identify and prioritise the problems they were encountering on their farms.  Following that, the Agricultural Extension Services Section and the Research and Development Section’s personnel got together and transformed the farmers’ problems into these above mentioned on-farm research trials.

Farmers prioritizing their needs
 It is good to note, that the idea of grouping the farmers to identify and prioritise their needs is in response to their demands during the Stakeholders Information Needs Assessment during which they wanted their actual problems be researched into and under the conditions and environment in which the farmers themselves are working under, hence the on-farm research.

Meetings were organised during which Agricultural Extension Services Section and Research and Development Section’s officers and farmers discussed the protocols for the trials and agreed on everyone’s responsibilities while the trials were in progress.
Farmers involvement from the start

At different development stages of the trials, farmers themselves were brought on site to see the progress and at the same time media were invited for wider coverage, hence whoever could not make it to the field visit, could be kept informed.
Farmers visiting on  field trial

The results of trials carried out were communicated through the workshop. This was also a request by the stakeholders themselves who wanted the results to be given in meetings by research and agricultural extension or on television or radio.

Presentation of trial results
The meeting has been a fruitful one and was also well appreciated by the stakeholders present. Minister Peter Sinon stressed on the importance of such workshop/ meeting which promotes interaction between research personnel and the farmers which also encourages the farmers to as much as possible to apply the research findings in their daily production undertakings on the farm.
Mr. Moustache addressing workshop participants 

On the other hand, Mr. Moustache urged the farmers to continue the collaboration especially to offer space on their land and their time for the on-farm trials. He also supported the proposal of the Principal Officer of the Agricultural Extension Services Section that the event becomes an annual one.

A farmer contributes in the discussion

The farmers themselves showed lots of interests and participated actively in the discussions. It was good to note, that the farmers on whose farms the trials were carried out, were eager to promote the most effective treatment used. Some also proposed amendments to the protocols to achieve better results as well as lay out more plots on their land. The meeting also served as a platform on which the farmers started to exchange indigenous knowledge among themselves as well as on better ways to get good yields all year round.

For a first, the meeting has been a successful one. It was a small step towards responding to the real need of the stakeholders, with the aim of achieving a higher national food security.

Rendez-vous is for March 2012, when research trials being carried out at the research station will also be presented along with the final results.

Contributed by:
Gilbert Port-Louis (Principal Officer Extension)
Sandra Sinon (Research Assistant, Research & Development)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Participation of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency in the Tourism Expo 2010

To celebrate the world tourism day, the Seychelles Tourism Board organized a Tourism Expo 2010. The Expo 2010 was held from Monday 27th to Wednesday 29th September at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles under the theme Tourism and Biodiversity. The president, Mr. James Michel was the special invited guest and the exposition was officially launched by the CEO of STB Mr. Alain St.Ange.
The Seychelles Agricultural Agency participated in the Tourism Expo 2010 with the aims of promoting  traditional local crops and to showcase the diversity of local crops that were used by our grand- parents and that the youth of today does not know (eg pigeon pea).  In adhering to the theme of tourism and biodiversity, the focus was on SAA’s fruit tree nursery  from which some tourism establishments such as Ephelia Resort and Eden Island bought fruit trees to beautify and create an edible landscape. On display there were also a diversity of fruit and vegetable trees, spices and herbs, root crops, vegetables and fruits commonly used by the general public as well as by the tourism industry. Agricultural Research and Development, Agricultural Extension Services and the National Plant Protection Organisation exhibited posters showing the work done by the mentioned sections. Research and Development Section exhibited photos of screened varieties namely tomatoes, sweet peppers, lettuces etc. The Agricultural Extension Services displayed information relevant to the campaign of Every home a garden through posters and a live exhibition.The National Plant Protection Organisation  had posters of the steps to be taken to obtain import certificates and had information on some invasive species such as whiteflies and fruit flies.
 The Agricultural Development Strategy2007-2011 provided the justification for SAA’s participation in the Tourism Expo 2010 as it states: The government through the ministry with portfolio responsibility for agriculture in collaboration with bilateral and multilateral partners would endeavour to promote improved crop varieties/ genetic resources through the use of land resources, local and introduced crop biodiversity/ genetic resources. It would further promote and support sound and environmental friendly cultural practices for edible landscaping.  the Tourism Expo 2010 was a good opportunity for SAA to raise its profile vis-a-vis biodiversity and tourism in the eyes of the public.

Contributed  by 
Yuna Madeleine

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seychelles Food Security Symposium to Mark the World Food Day 2010

The Food Security Symposium was held on the 15th of October 2010 at the CARE HOUSE, Victoria, Mahe. The symposium was part of the activities organized for the World Food Day under the theme –United Against Hunger. The main objectives of the symposium were to assess the current situation of agricultural development in Seychelles, to evaluate the outcomes, output and the challenges of the Food Security Strategy 2008-2011 and to identify new approaches for improvement and development for the development and implementation of a new strategy. Present at the symposium were different actors from the Government of Seychelles, the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA), International organizations, School of Horticulture and Farmers Training Centre (SHFTC) and representatives from the farming community.
The Minister with portfolio responsible for agriculture made the opening remarks urging all stakeholders to work together for the benefit of agricultural development in Seychelles in the face of economic crisis and climate change challenge. The special adviser to the Minister gave an overview of agricultural development in the past, the current situation and what we want to achieve.  Project officer from UNDP-GEF gave a presentation on Biosecurity project relating to management of invasive species in the Seychelles. Project officer from IAEA gave a presentation on soil fertility and water management, and management of melon fruit fly using nuclear techniques in the Seychelles.   
Representatives from the SAA and SHFTC gave presentations on the five pillars of the Food Security Strategy 2008-2011. The five pillars include Agricultural Land, Agricultural Inputs and Supply, Policy and Institutional Support, Agricultural Infrastructure and Capacity Building and Training.  The presentation focuses on the strategy, action plan, stakeholders, outcomes/output and progress/remarks. In the afternoon session the participants worked in groups discussing on issues relating to the five pillars and the main findings were then presented in a plenary session. The Chief Executive Officer of the SAA gave a summary of the proceedings stressing on the main cross cutting issues and the best way forward for the development of the new Food Security Strategy.  The Principle Secretary from the Department of Natural Resources closed the symposium encouraging all the stakeholders to work in close collaboration for greater achievement in agricultural development in Seychelles.

Contributed by,
Monette Nourice
Research Officer
Research & Development 
Seychelles Agricultural Agency