N. Marianas Islands Report
SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Northern Mariana Islands
January 1 - December 31, 2011
Summary of 2011 PDP Activities and Results
In 2011, the PDP Northern Marianas focused on building capacities with regard to the development of alternative livelihood enterprises. Due to economic hardship, we need a system of less inputs to provide us a better output. This is the very reason we introduced and trained extension professionals for Goat Production, Nutrition and Management. Three extension staff were trained to better improve their skills on genetic upgrading using artificial insemination for goats. They were also exposed to different breeds, management and sustainable practices, as well as value-added marketing from various goat producers in the U.S. The extension staff are expected to transfer their knowledge in April 2012 at a workshop in collaboration with the University of Guam. These professionals were involved in improving their broodstock and will showcase their farm, modelling the best agricultural management practices.
Also promoting and increasing awareness of the program was the involvement in various community events such as the San Jose Festival - Tinian Agriculture and the 1st Rota Sweet Potato Festival. SARE programs were showcased in educational booths with all- day client consultations for the islands of Tinian and Rota. More than 400 participants attended the events and maximized the exchange of diversity of ideas. The previous year’s project information on Artificial Insemination and Animal Health, as well as Aquaculture were also offered through client visitation and consultation with extension staff from each island.
Context and Overview
NMC-CREES’ current mission is to focus on island’s potential program from which stakeholders will benefit directly. It has been a decade since livestock and agriculture has been considered a backbone industry for the islands, and they have been neglected due to island leaders not making it a priority. The need for a slaughterhouse, the genetic dilemma of inbreeding and high cost of livestock feeds are the most prohibiting factor to success. The state PDP-SARE focused on solutions to these problems by offering training workshops and on-site demonstrations to our ranchers and professional extension agents in subject such as Aquaculture, Feed Nutrition, Livestock Genetic Upgrading and various island sustainability topics. This was coupled by great collaboration of experts from University of Hawaii and University of Virgin Islands working on the same issue (http://www.marianasgrazingacademy.org/), providing extension outreach to Pacific Islanders. With funding from USDA, they were able to provide a study on the feasibility of a slaughterhouse (http://www.agenergyenterprises.com/feasibility/index.html) that helps private and government entities in decision-making.
Activities and Methods
The following professional development sessions were funded under the SARE 2011 budget. Additional activities are set to be accomplished by August 30, 2012 due to administrative delays in funding availability.
- Training Scholarship for three extension personnel to Goat Production, Management and Value-added marketing courses in Missouri
- 1st and 2nd Rota Sweet Potato festival- SARE Workshops March 2011- SARE funded workshops in marketing, sweet soursop wine making, potato production and pest management, SARE grants presentation FRG in aquaculture, NRCS EQIP grants presentation, CDA and Bank of Guam presentation assisting farmers in agriculture loan
- May 2011 SARE Program booth display at Tinian Fiesta
- May 2-3 SARE presentation of funded SARE projects on CREES Workshop at NMC Campus
- NMC Charted day and Open House CREES- SARE booth display
- Distance Education on livestock production and sustainable agriculture
- Client educational workshop and Assistance for Swine Improvement in support for slaughterhouse project by a private owner for sustainable pork production in the Northern Marianas
- July 2011 SARE PDP meeting in Idaho attended by SARE coordinators
Upcoming event funded under this Grant
- Goat Management and Nutrition Workshop with University of Guam in the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota – April 12-19, 2012
- Table Top discussion for 2013 SARE priorities for CNMI CREES staff
- Table Top discussion for 2013 SARE priorities for CNMI stakeholder’s in workshop
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
Reprinting of SARE funded brochures and flyers
Impacts and contributions
The above activities provided tremendous acquisition of new knowledge and skills not only to the PI with his exposure to mainland technologies in goat management and value- adding, but to other extension agents as well. With a system of less inputs and low maintenance, these will encourage growers to be engaged and create new livelihoods, and alleviate some food security problems and create new business enterprises. Acknowledgement is also given to the collaborative effort with The Marianas Grazing Academy --indeed a big help in developing more professionals through their series of livestock workshops. The partnership with office of the Mayor, USDA NRCS, Commonwealth Development Authority and Farm Service Agency and local banks in all of our events had proven to support not only the professionals, but also the end stakeholders - the farmers and ranchers in attaining their goals for sustainable farming.
Involvement of others in state PDP planning and implementation
NMC CREES has its own advisory council, since the NMI is so small and separated by waters. It is practical to use the same advisory groups that are composed of individuals in different professions. They usually meet once in a year before submission of our Plan of Work for USDA. In this planning summit with CREES staff, we do a presentation of each program and follow with a forum from which set priorities evolved.
An annual evaluation form will be disseminated to the three islands to gauge success and failure of SARE program in the NMI after the SARE workshops on April 2012. This form will serve as overall assessments of SARE program for five years starting 2007. Key points will be included as well as lacking points. Expected release of evaluation results is June 2012.