Strengthening through Education the Sustainability of Solanaceous Crop Production in the Western Pacific Region
Growers, educators and extension agents on Guam and in the Western Pacific region need crop production information tailored to their climate and farm situation. Eggplant, pepper, and tomato are member of the Solanaceae family of plants. These crops are becoming a favorite of the tropics because they are easy to grow, their seeds can be collected and they have a worldwide market appeal. Since Solanaceous crops are not limited to the tropics, there is a great deal of information intended for the temperate region in books and on the worldwide net; if applied to the Western Pacific region it may be a recipe for disaster. Recommendations regarding crop varieties, cultural practices and pest and disease control need to be designed for our farmers and applicable to our region.
These will be accomplished: (1) the establishment of a working group of individuals from the private and public sector that are interested in educating the public about Solanaceous crops (eggplant, pepper, and tomato); (2) the publication of a guide on Solanaceous crops that is germane to Guam and the Western Pacific region; (3) the disseminate of information through internet, classroom and newspapers. The guide will be used in various classroom setting such as pesticide training, workshops, and agriculture classes. The guide will also be a valuable reference tool for students, producers, and agriculture resource professionals.
(1) Twelve farm sites were visited in 2000 to interview farmers and identify production problems. In 2001, twenty farms were visited and farmers surveyed. The survey information constitutes a unit in the Solanaceous Guide. These farmers will be given copies of the guide and invited to a crop production workshop when the guide is finished. This unit is included to indicate to the farmers that their opinions are valued and to identify areas where they need assistance. As an extension professional, I want to encourage cooperation among farmers and agents in the department of agriculture and Guam Cooperative Extension. (2) The guide is ready for final review and publication. This publication is the work of 18 contributors. It contains 185 pages, 50 tables, and 30 color plates. The publication is all-inclusive covering crop management, variety evaluations, economic assessment, budgets, financial assistant, nutrition, pesticide safety and more. The publication pulled together information, from a number of sources, to form comprehensive tables listing all insects and plant pathogens found in the Western Pacific on these crops. This guide will be used by producers, by instructors of agriculture production classes and Pesticide Applicator courses and by applicants of the Guam Agricultural Development Fund. (3) Once the guide has been published, the public and institutions of higher education in the region will be notified. Articles will be ran in the local newspaper, a half day workshop will be given and the guide will be made available on the internet.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The Guide has not been distributed, but based on a farmer survey I believe the guide will be well received and will improve production practices. A half-day workshop on the guide’s highlights will be offered to agents, interested farmers, and the general public. Agriculture continues to add to the economical well-being of Guam mainly due to the efforts of the agriculture professionals and market demand. From 1998 to 2001 a total of 4,130 jobs were lost on Guam due to a slow down in tourism. During this same time period 120 jobs were gained in the agricultural sector with an average year salary of $17,983.
University of Guam
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 16717352003