Mr. Ilimo is a graduate from the Young Farmers Course in the year 2007. Upon graduating from the young farmer’s course Ilimo managed to build a three-bedroom from the money from his Tutu farm as well as his home farm. Ilimo is married to Losalini Qatea. After graduation, he was left to continue with his farming business without any monitoring and the responsibility of a family gave him the urge to continue his farming business sustainably.
2007 graduate Mr Ilimo Nawaiblavu in his home
Ms Mereani Teresia:
Mereani Teresia is from the village of Salia in the province of Cakaudrove, she is a former graduate of the 2019 single women’s course. Upon graduation Mereani managed to purchase an electric sewing machine from the money she earned from her sales of vegetables and other skills like jewelry making, screen printing, sewing and traditional handicraft. Today Mereani continues her sewing and runs her small micro enterprise where she sells to the local community members
Mereani Teresia operating her small micro enterprise
Mr Waisele Lomaoso:
Mr Waisale is a current participant in our young farmers’ program and is from the village of Nukubolu from the province of Cakaudrove. Mr Lomaoso is currently on home program and continues on with the building of his three bedroom house and is nearly in completion. Mr Lomaoso only have primary education and resorted back to village life before completing his primary education.Mr Lomaoso currently works on his goal of completing his three bedroom house and is integrating sustainable farming practices at his home farm
TUTU RURAL TRAINING CENTRE COURSES CONSOLIDATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF TUTU
This report will emphasize a few important developments that have taken place through the ‘He Oranga Taurikura’ programme since its inception and it has given light to the development of Tutu courses
Outcome 1: Improved Food and Water Security and Healthy lifestyles
WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE
Through the program, TRTC has expanded its services with its Oceania farm for engaging women to be part of the farm development. It is envisioned through the motherly character of women they can replicate their tender character in caring for the crops at the Tutu farm. The women were engaged in the farming program where the formation is given on sustainable farming practice that includes soil regeneration. The women’s engagement at the farm is for two weeks and they will spend two weeks at home. The program amounted to $1,950.00 this is ongoing.
Crop rotation for used land
“Soil health starts with a paddock’s history even in this age of advanced technology”
It is been observed that more information about soil health in the field can be gained by talking to farm staff themselves. Farm staff detects that soil health problems arise from one-off events such as when crops had to be harvested in the wet or the continuous use of synthetic fertilizers or even the ongoing use of chemicals for cleaning the farm. This has shown a lot of impact on the quality of food consumed. The use of biological farming techniques improved food and water security and has contributed to a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Soil healthy crop
OUTCOME 2: STRENGTHENED CLIMATE AND DISASTER PREPARED HOUSEHOLD AND LIVELIHOODS
• The empowering of running entrepreneurship by the participants has opened the development of e new workshop for Contemporary Arts where participants can enjoy expressing themselves in the making of traditional art, jewelry making, screen printing, and floriculture. The new building will contribute to the development of participants being resilient while operating as business entrepreneur. The total spent for the contemporary Arts building at the moment is $13,254.43, this is nearly in completion.
• UPGRADING OF TRTC FARM ROAD The upgrading of farm roads has contributed to the easy access of participants and staff to their respective farms and at the same time decrease the ongoing maintenance of the farm fleet. The road maintenance was completed in four months. The total amount for the road works amounted to $266,720.00
The Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Water Ways and Environment Dr Mahedra Reddy, Representatives of the Oceania Marist Province, Fr Provincial, Fr Setefano Mataele, Government officials, Tutu Board of Directors, invited guests, my brothers and sisters in the Society of Mary, parents of the young farmers, and in particular the 49 Young Farmers graduating today. Bula Vinaka and Welcome,everyone. It is a joy and privilege for me to welcome our guest of honour, the Honorable Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Water Ways and Environment and I thank you Sir for making yourself available to be present with us today.
Since its early beginnings, Tutu has operated on a partnership between the Society of Mary, the Government of Fiji, and the people of the Province of Cakaudrove.
Through the Ministry of Agriculture, we are grateful for the open relationship with the government that has enabled us to be creative in discovering new and modern ways of making traditional agriculture fruitful.
The history of our partnership dates back to 1972 when I am told that the Minister for Agriculture at that time Mr Doug Brown was our chief guest at the graduation of the first six months course and who at that time, committed the government to work in partnership with Tutu into the future. Fifty-two years later we are still working together in the partnership and I take this opportunity today to thank the present Government for the ongoing support through the annual grant.
It is a special joy to welcome Fr Setefano Mataele sm the Society of Mary Representative. Fr Setefano is the Provincial of Oceania Marist Province and is also a member of the recently created Tutu Rural Training Centre board.
The Society of Mary has contributed; 1109 acres of land, administrative skills, facilities, personnel without pay over the years, and perhaps most significantly, credibility in the eyes of the people, built up over the last years….. credibility born out of a relationship of presence, service and loyalty.
Ownership is the pathway to leadership. One of the greatest strengths of Tutu has been the sense of ownership of Tutu by the people of Cakaudrove. This ownership stems from the fact that they built the Centre through volunteer work. The story of the Tutu volunteers is a great example of hands up rather than hands out. Elements of volunteer work have continued to be part of the structure, and I thank the present group of Young Farmers for their one day’s volunteer work every week, which enables the Centre to operate.
The history of this partnership between the Society of Mary, the Government of Fiji and the people of Cakaudrove has been a fruitful one. There was a request by the government to extend beyond the province of Cakaudrove. As a result, we decided to initially extend the catchment area to include the tikin a’s of Dogotuki, Sasa, Wailevu and Seaqaqa in Macuata and Kubulau in Bua. These areas are accessible and homogeneous with Cakaudrove in terms of social structure, crops, markets and cultural value.
As of today through the help from the Government of Fiji through the Ministry of Agriculture we continue to bridge the gap within our catchment areas responding to the needs of our communities.
The local extension and research division for the past couple of years has always made itself available to take classes with the Young farmers, I must say congratulations to you Rohit, and your colleagues. We treasure your inputs and your belief in what we are doing.
Today we will officially be handing over our graduates to the Ministry in collaborating with Tutu for the monitoring of the young farmers five – year life development plan.
It is also with joy I would like to thank Caritas New Zealand whose representative is not here because of close borders. Caritas New Zealand is at present assisting Tutu to rehabilitate after TC Yasa and Ana while at the same time assisting with a significant project to consolidate the operational capacity of Tutu enabling it to be sustainable into the future. The project includes programmes on; soil enhancement, agroforestry development, fruit tree and vegetable development, breadfruit processing and value-adding activities, water reticulation, the newly upgraded farm roading, technical assistance, solar installation and hydro upgrade, board and staff training and providing the resources for the 2018 major review.
Speaking about the 2018 major review, I would like to congratulate the Review Team which consisted of Dr Andrew Mcgregor, Dr Rohit Lal, Mr Livai Tora and Fr IsaiaWairoga sm for the job well done and helping the centre with a follow-up project to Caritas NZ and MFAT in consolidating Rural Training in northern provinces of Fiji …thank you.
Sir, COVID-19 changes the way business organization operates and at the same time it changes all aspects of our lives leading to surprising discoveries. Tutu has helped in rehabilitating the functions of the degraded natural system through the supply of mucuna beans, ongoing supplying of fruit trees and compost tea which helps fix the degraded natural systems in delivering a climate positive future in which people and nature can thrive. This is being achieved with the exceptional involvement of the ministry of agriculture staff of both Waiyevo and Mua transmitting their knowledge and love of the soil, respect for the crops into a simple form for our participants.
New developments have been implemented with our long line of consultants and benefactors with Mr Rayner Page for the Tutu hydro plant and solar installation, Mr Sant Kumar of BulagroNadi on fruit trees and vegetable production, Lex Thompson and Basil Gua in agroforestry, Mike James in financial administration, Dr Andrew McGregor and Ms Selina Kuruleca on research and developments, various government departments and many others in the local community and beyond. We are grateful for the advice that will help us sustain our centre into the future.
I would like to single out the involvement of the Pacific Farmers’OrganisationNetwork(PIFON), of which TRTC is a founding member. Our collaboration with PIFON has enabled us to build the first-ever farm tunnel for offseason vegetables and the design of the TRTC website.
In celebrating the graduation of the Young Farmers today, we are unearthing the model of Adult Non-Formal Rural Education that has enabled these young men to take hold of their own lives, build their own houses, and establish themselves as happily self-employed farmers in Rural Fiji today.
Even though this Young Farmers’ Course is rooted in the realities of agriculture, it is at heart a course about ‘people’. Their story is not about how much money they have made, although it is significant, how they had the door of a future open to them by a human process that we call Human Development. It is a process of liberation from personal and cultural constraints.
These young men graduating today are self-employed. They know as self-employed you are your boss…and you’re your boy also. He makes his own decisions, and he carries them out
The recent opening of our border means for us overseas investment which is important for those who do not have access to their own resources…..but let us also develop the resources that we have. And that is what this course is about. It is a development from within, development with dignity, development based on what we have got…. namely land. The present government policy of building a food secure Fiji is very encouraging for rural farmers today.
The development of Fiji is the development of its people, and today we honour these young men who are not looking to the new world out there somewhere, but a new world right here on their own land.
The Tutu Young Farmers is a course about farming, about using land commercially, about management, about rural development, about self-employment and so on. However, at its heart, it is a course for people. It is about their hopes and dreams, their hurts and pains, their relationships, their affectivity, their growth in autonomy whereby they are helped to take charge of their own lives and relationships.
However, our greatest asset is the creativity and dedication of our staff who walk with these young men. The majority of our staff are from the local community and have been formed here in Tutu. From the leadership here in Naisavere, through the cooks, the technical staff, human development formators, the farmworkers, food development, the soil health department, finance, we are blessed with an extraordinary sense of mission…….and I thank them today with the utmost reverence. You have helped us re-set and re-organize running the program to fit the challenging time we are going through today…and I say Vinaka! Vinaka! Vinaka sakaVakalevu for your ability to work together towards a common vision.
In rural non-formal adult education, the agenda, the syllabus comes from the people in their home situation. The test of the process is what they can do back at home, not here in Tutu.
The human process in Tutu is to awaken a new awareness of the resources, the opportunities, the dignity, the unperceived possibilities that exist for them in the land and sea that they own. This is a human process and why our expertise needs to be in the field of human development. The empowering factor is in the human person whereby new enlightenment and new ways of looking at ourselves and the world surrounding us gives us the energy to take hold of our lives and take up the skills of farm management.
This process does not take place in space and so I want to thank especially today the parents of the young farmers. I thank you for entrusting your sons to us, for your support to them throughout the three years, and for your generosity in coming to attend the two days parents course that also concludes today.
Finally, to the 49 young men graduating today, your period in Tutu ends today. You go home to your own house, to your own already established farms, you take your furniture, your bankbooks, you go with a clear five-year plan and the energy to live it out. You have planned your work, now you go to work on your plan.
You have lived together in accepting each other’s differences, you have prayed together, you have met cyclones and sickness and grown in patience and maturity beyond your years.
I say to you, congratulations. We are proud of you, you are a source of great joy to us. You chose in freedom to come here, and so we love you with the same freedom as we send you out today. Remember you have no debts here. Go in freedom and peace.
Our guest of honour, The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mr Ritesh Dass, Government officials, invited guests, members of the Tutu Board, my brothers and sisters in the Society of Mary, families and friends of the farming couples, and in particular the 12 farming couples graduating today. A warm welcome to you all.
It is a joy and privilege for me to welcome our guest of honor, and I thank you the Permanent Secretary for coming and making yourself available to be present with us today. Despite your busy schedule, we found in you sir, a kindred spirit who understands and lives the same simple values of human formation that is at the heart of the Tutu model.
We have a long-standing working relationship with the Ministry of Agriculture and our partnership together has been a fruitful one. That is why we continue to work together over a number of years trialing the Tutu experiment.
Sir, you are able to understand our ways of operating from the ground up, and we appreciate your patient, caring, hardworking, listening and yet disciplined approach.
In your recent touring around the country during this time of COVID containment sir, you will have noticed that agriculture has become the hope of Fijians since COVID 19 closed down the tourism sectors. Agriculture has become the hope of people.
Tutu is about making a difference to people, and your presence Mr Permanent Secretary makes a difference to Tutu and as I warmly welcome you today I want you to know that you are special to us. We are proud to have you as our guest of honour for our Farming Couples, for whom we wanted the best, and you are the best.
Since its early beginnings, Tutu has operated on a partnership between the Society of Mary, the Government of Fiji, and the people of the Province of Cakaudrove.
Through the Ministry of Agriculture, we are grateful for the open relationship with the government that has enabled us to be creative in discovering new and innovative ways of making traditional agriculture more appealing.
In acknowledging the financial grant from the Ministry of Agriculture I also want to express thanks to the Minister of Agriculture, the assistant minister and you sir for the spirit of open communication and understanding.
Our on-going partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture for the last years is quite exceptional especially with our collaboration with Mr Rohit Lal and his staff of both Waiyevo and Mua transmitting their knowledge and love of the soil, respect for the crops into simple form for our participants.
The local extension division for the past couple of years has always made itself available to take classes with the Young farmers, single women, and the farming couples. I must say congratulations to you Rohit, and your staff. We treasure your inputs and your belief in what we are doing.
Today we are expressing what has been previously taken for granted by officially handing over our graduating couples to the Ministry to work in collaboration with Tutu for the supervision of the couples five – year life development plan
I would like to thank Caritas New Zealand whose representative is not here with us because of closed borders. Caritas New Zealand are assisting us in a project that consolidates our efforts in Soil Enhancement, Agroforestry, fruit tree development, vegetable enterprise production, energy through the hydro and solar, and governance with the establishment of the Tutu Rural Training Centre board.
This project has enabled us to engage personnel such as Lex Thompson and Basil Gua on agro-forestry, Andrew McGregor and Selina Kuruleca for research and developments, Sant Kumar on fruit trees and vegetable production, Rayner Page on hydro and solar production, Kenneth, and Shauna for IT development and others as consultants who have advised and helped us sustain our centre into the future.
These people I have mentioned are at the top of their game and so are able to communicate with us on the ground in simple language that connects and empowers.
I would like to single out the Pacific Farmers Organisation Network(PIFON),of which TRTC is a founding member. Our collaboration with PIFON has enabled us to host the first Tutu Farmers Forum in July this year, as well as design the first-ever Tutu website in which we will witness the launching today.
I would like to thank Ma and Eric for their tremendous contribution to the mission of Tutu. They have been hosting the married couples field visit, been involved in the village course for the last 30 years and Eric has been part of the Tutu board until his passing on from this life this year.
We value people of judgment, discernment, and wisdom obtained from using the listening eye and the listening heart. There is no substitute for on the ground involvement if people want to form partnerships.
The Tutu Farming Couples course is about assisting farming couples to joyfully accept their call as rural farming families in their village situation. In achieving this aim the course endeavors to heighten the awareness, motivation, and skills of married people to make better use of their resources to enhance their livelihood.
It is about using available resources commercially, about management, about rural development, about self-employment in agriculture. Skill training learned enables farming couples to set up farming as a business enterprise in their home situation. However, at its heart, it is a course for people.
It is about their hopes and dreams, their hurts and pains, their relationships, their affectivity, their growth in autonomy whereby they are helped to take charge of their own lives and relationships. This process does not happen by itself and we are blest in this part of Fiji, and here in Tutu with wonderful physical resources in the soil, water, power, fruits, vegetables, and forestry.
However, our greatest asset is the creativity and dedication of our Tutu staff who walk with these farming couples. You have helped us re-set and re-organize running the program to fit the challenging time we are going through today.As majority of our staff are from the local community and have been formed here in Tutu; we are blessed with an extraordinary sense of mission…….and I say Vinaka! Vinaka! Vinaka sakaVakalevu for your conviction and commitment. We rise as a team and we fail as a team.
The process used in this accompaniment of their human formation is called Non-formal Adult Education….a process not always understood by those who have grown up in the formal education system and continue to work and live their lives in formal employment. It is a process of growth in freedom from the fears and constraints that bind us, both internally in how we perceive ourselves, and externally in the barriers, that prevent us from taking responsibility for ourselves and as a couple.
Our challenge is to open the door for them. And the door is in their minds and hearts and deeper desires, whereby we listen to them, walk with them, and make space for them to dream, and to realize their dream.
Finally, to you the farming couples graduating today. I see you about to leave us today with your newly acquired skills, a new way of understanding and believing in your goodness as a couple, with a five-year life development plan and especially new confidence in your hearts using the power of your couple relationship.
You have lived together in accepting each other’s differences, you have prayed together, you have grown in patience and maturity beyond your years.
I say to you, congratulations. We are proud of you; you are a source of great joy to us.
I re-echo the words of my predecessor Fr Michael McVerry sm: “You chose in freedom to come here, and so we love you with the same freedom as we send you out today. Do not look back. You have no debts here.”
Recently on the 22nd of October 2020, TRTC made a difference again to 12 Farming couples who graduated from the six months farming couples course. TRTC assisted these farming couples to joyfully accept their call as rural families in their village situation. In achieving this aim the course endeavored to heighten the awareness, motivation, and skills of married people to make better use of their resources to enhance their livelihood. The couples were trained in the areas of management, rural development, self-employment in agriculture and making use of their available resources commercially. Other skilled training learned through the six months FCC will enable these farming couples to set up farming as a business enterprise in their home situation.