Friday, 15 December 2017

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On the 11th February – 7th March 2013, Siope Pele, Research Officer of the Plant & Food Technology (PFT) Division attended a training in Israel on Postharvest, Physiology, Pathology & Handling of Fresh Commodities. The course was organized by the Institute of Technology and Storage of Agricultural Produce of the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) in cooperation with the Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation (CINADCO). The course is part of the wide international activity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV). The course objectives were

  • To understand the Physiological, Pathological and Environmental factors involved in the deterioration of fresh agricultural produce.
  • To learn postharvest technologies and best practices associated with the postharvest handling of fresh fruits and vegetables, to assist in the delay of senescence, reduce loss and maintain the best possible quality of the produce.
  • To initiate, research, teach and transfer knowledge to extension workers and farmers.
Siope delivered a presentation to the scientists group on his course sharing some of the lessons taught as well as skills acquired. He also provided all course materials to add to SROS’s information base for its research activities.

SROS hosted a visit by the Organics Committee on 28th February 2013 which was led by the Hon. Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, and included the Hon. Minister of the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa, Faamoetauloa Lealaiauloto Taito Dr. Faale Tumaalii. The Organics Committee comprised of various members from Government Ministries & Corporations, Women in Business Development Inc. and farmers. The purpose of the visit to SROS was to observe the progress of on-going projects relating to product development, such as the processing of margarine from avocado oil, purification of coconut oil to eliminate its unpleasant aroma for cooking purposes, extraction and analysis of vanilla, IANZ-accredited microbiological analysis of drinking water, and a field trial for the sensory and nutritional evaluation of new taro clones from the joint Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, & USP School of Agriculture & Food Technology's Taro Breeding programme.

The SROS Management Retreat of 9-10 March 2013 was the first for the current Board of Directors. Active participants included all current members of the Board of Directors, the CEO and Managers of SROS, and two of the principle officers. Honourable Fa'amoetauloa Lealaiauloto Taito Dr. Faale Tumaalii, Minister of SROS, was also a vital contributor to the sessions held over one and a half days. The primary purpose of the retreat was to review the status of SROS and update its corporate plan appropriately, and these activities provided Board members and SROS Management opportunities to work together to develop a better consensus concerning the future of SROS and a better understanding of the challenges ahead.

Over the past year, significant technical process has been achieved, investment profiles have been developed for key products under development, and operational procedures continued to be improved. SROS nevertheless continues to seek to improve its ability to achieve its mandate and objectives as outlined by the SROS Act. Accordingly, the Corporate Plan of SROS was revised to prioritise select activities and introduce critical strategies to facilitate the translation of technical developments into products and services suitable for uptake by relevant stakeholders. The establishment of a Technical Service Division was identified as a key structural adjustment necessary to improve the effectiveness of essential testing services for the food, health and export sectors. A review of the SROS Act was also identified as a consultative process required to ensure the relevancy of SROS objectives and activities to key stakeholders in the Samoan economy and society. These and other action items will be pursued by SROS Management and staff during the upcoming year.

A scientific paper titled "Enzymatic Conversion of Coconut Oil for Biodiesel Production" senior-authored by Lilo Samani Tupufia (Principal Research Scientist, ERE Division) with other scientists from the University of New South Wales was published online in the "Fuel Processing Technology" Journal. SROS is featured in the list of authors parent organizations with the rest been the University of New South Wales School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and School of Chemical Engineering. This publication by one of SROS's scientists with the inclusion of SROS's name therein, has achieved one of SROS's objectives in its Act specifically "to publish scientific and technical reports, periodicals and papers."