Mr. Jensen Uyeda, an Agriculture Extension Agent specializing in Edible Crops at the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources led a series of workshops in mid-June at the Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR) division of the American Samoa Community College.
The workshops attracted agricultural professionals, nonprofit organizations involved in agriculture, and farmers.
Uyeda said Ameircan Samoa is in the same boat as Hawaii in terms of isolation and limited natural resources, which makes food production very challenging .
That’s because everything from fertilizer to animal feed and seeds are imported.
“Over the course of two days, Uyeda shared his knowledge on topics including Irrigation Management; Hydroponic Farming Systems; Integrated Pest Management; Good Agricultural Practices & the Food Safety Modernization Act; and Crop Selection/ Conducting Variety Trials.
Dr. Ian Gurr of ASCC-ACNR said the workshops focused on topics that would benefit local agriculture professionals, who can use the training they received to assist farmers in improving production while also protecting the environment.
Mr. Uyeda visited farms participants where he answered questions, observed their operations and made recommendations.
Uyeda also visited local hydroponic farms, including one that’s in the American Samoa Community Hydroponics Development Project, a three-year venture by US Department of Agriculture through the local non-profit Pacific Youth and Community Development (PYCD).
Project Manager Brooke Gurr says they are training five new farmers in hydroponic techniques, and three of them were in attendance at the workshops.
Uyeda also visited a mentor farmer for the project, Larry Hirata, at Hirata HydroGardens,” and discussed building greenhouses with some locally available resources instead of purchasing expensive hoop-house designed structures from off island.
Before he returned to Honolulu Uyeda expressed interest in working again with local agriculture professionals.