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Linking agriculture to tourism in the Pacific

An ocean of market opportunities

June 26, 2015

Although agriculture provides the main source of livelihood for most people in the Pacific region, its overall economic contribution has declined during the past decade, while tourism has seen significant growth. Convinced of the scope for combining the two sectors, CTA and partners have been exploring ways of creating fresh income generating sources that can build resilience in rural communities and enhance sustainable development for the islands.

An event organised by CTA and partners – Agribusiness Forum: Linking the agrifood sector to the tourism-related markets – will investigate new economic opportunities for rural dwellers in the Pacific and share knowledge and experiences from the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, as part of the expanded Intra ACP Agricultural Policy Programme (Intra-ACP APP). The Forum, to be held from July 1 to 3, will take place as part of the Pacific Community Agritourism Week, being staged in Nadi, Fiji from June 29 to July 3. Farmers, chefs, private sector representatives, policy-makers, researchers and international development practitioners are among those expected to attend. Throughout the week, CTA will be teaming up with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to support a team of young social reporters to blog on the event.

A growing sector, agritourism has been pinpointed as having strong potential for small-scale entrepreneurs in the Pacific, fostering a more community-inclusive model of tourism development. Activities can include farm and vineyard tours, farm stays and visits to agricultural processing and plantation activities, together with agriculture fairs and festivals. Food and beverages, crafts, cosmetics, flowers, ornamentals and essential oils are all local products with strong potential for driving growth in the agribusiness sector, especially among women.

Many Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are ideally placed to take advantage of agritourism based on organic production systems, especially given their extensive and largely unspoilt coastal and marine resources. However, to date, linkages between tourism and agriculture have been constrained by a focus on cheap imported food in much of the region and failure to match supply and demand between small-scale producers and hotels, restaurants and retail outlets. 

A central feature of the Fiji event will involve investigating innovative ways of linking farmers to the hospitality trade to ensure greater use of local food products in the tourism sector and address supply and quality issues. A series of workshops and other events will seek to bring farmers together with private sector agripreneurs, hotel chefs and culinary trainers.

“CTA is working with partners to build capacity, in areas such as business skill development, financial management, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, ICTs, greater participation of youth and women in agribusiness, climate smart agriculture and knowledge management,” said CTA Director Michael Hailu.

“The Fiji event will enable the Caribbean and the Pacific regions to discuss the challenges they face, but also the immense potential of agritourism,” said Samson VilvilFare, Programme Coordinator for Intra-ACP APP. “Both regions have tourism as highest contributors to their GDP – more than 60 per cent in some cases – yet food is not sourced locally.”

The Agribusiness Forum in Fiji will highlight successes in strengthening links between agriculture and tourism in the Pacific region and identify areas where more support is needed to increase synergies between agribusiness value chain actors and the tourism industry. 

Output from the Forum, which is jointly organised by CTA, the Pacific Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and SPC, will be posted on the CTA Blog, the Brussels Briefings website, as well as on the CTA news website.  

Follow the updates on Twitter with hashtag #PacAgriTo

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