The University of the South Pacific (USP) hosted its inaugural Research Seminar Series at its Laucala campus in Suva on Wednesday (14/06/23), showcasing the exceptional work of its students and researchers. Among the distinguished presenters was Maika Daveta, a Master of Science student, who captivated the audience with his groundbreaking research on traditional knowledge transfer.
Daveta’s research, conducted as part of his pursuit of a Master’s degree in Science Biology at USP, focuses on “the elucidation, mass production, and inoculation of rhizobium for the restoration of degraded lands.” His presentation, titled “Restoration in Practice: A Community-to-Community Knowledge Transfer on Masi Value Chain Development in Naviti Island, Yawasa Fiji,” highlighted the significant findings from his initial survey.
With a solid academic background, including a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry and a Postgraduate Diploma in Biotechnology, both from USP, Daveta’s expertise extends beyond the classroom. Currently serving as the National Project Coordinator for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations’ “Forest and Landscape Restoration Project,” he is deeply committed to sustainable practices and the betterment of communities.
Daveta’s research sheds light on the importance of participatory approaches and collaboration in knowledge transfer. By engaging with communities on Naviti Island, he identified the priority needs of women’s groups, particularly in “masi value adding.” Masi, a culturally significant resource, holds immense traditional value in Fiji.
In collaboration with FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Vinaka Fiji Yasawa Trust Foundation, and local stakeholders, Daveta developed a comprehensive “Masi Value Adding Training of Trainers Program and Budget.” This program equips women with the necessary skills and knowledge to process masi, providing them with alternative income sources and contributing to sustainable livelihoods.
Daveta’s research has not only empowered sixteen women from Naviti Island but has also established a community-driven approach to knowledge transfer. Through ongoing programs and the establishment of mass and mangrove plantations, the project aims to support the current and future needs of masi value chain development.
As an advocate for research and higher education, Daveta encourages other young individuals to pursue studies that can contribute to well-informed decision-making processes. His remarkable achievements serve as an inspiration for aspiring students to make a difference through academic pursuits and research.
Applications for Semester 2 are now open.