Linking Pacific farmers and local businesses to build profits and food security

Tourism to the Pacific is continuing to increase. To further promote trade, agribusiness and private sector development in the Pacific, a high-level forum will look at ways to source agricultural products from small-scale farmers, identify ways to build up links between the farmers and domestic markets, and increase nutritious and healthy food in Pacific diets.

Many of the Pacific island countries face the same challenges: small economies, declining agriculture, difficulty accessing global markets, remote locations, weak marketing of local products and growing health issues. Seeking to break out of this constricting cycle, CTA sees a growth in local agribusinesses as a strategy for profitable and sustainable development for island communities.

Following on from the success of the 1st Pacific Agribusiness Forum in 2015, CTA and partners are staging the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum, entitled 'Linking The Agrifood Sector To The Local Markets For Economic Growth And Improved Food And Nutrition Security' in Apia, Samoa, from 29 August until 2 September 2016. CTA is organising the event with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the South Pacific Community (SPC).

"The 2nd Agribusiness Forum seeks to deepen partnerships to promote specific public–private partnerships to boost local production and value addition," said Michael Hailu, the Director of CTA. "The active engagement of the private sector is critical for the transformation of the agrifood sector in the Pacific to address major challenges of food security, nutrition and climate change resilience."

As well as looking at the most successful business models that improve market access, local income generation and regional trade between agriculture and fisheries, the 2nd Forum will focus on linking agriculture, nutrition and health and the promotion of healthy local food. The 3-day meeting will consider what strategies and specific actions are needed to develop well organised, integrated and competitive value chains in the agrifood sector, including skills and capacity development, finance and policies.

"We have the opportunity to change household diets by identifying and addressing the constraints to local healthy food production and identifying the specific national linkages between agriculture and nutrition," said Chris Addison, CTA's regional coordinator for the Pacific.

Once the meeting has been formally opened on Tuesday 30 August 2016 the first session will be a high-level Policy Forum moderated by Michael Hailu. This session will discuss how national policies can support the development of agribusiness and encourage investment in the private sector in the Pacific.

Four panel sessions, with a number of other discussion sessions will follow. The first panel will look at policies and markets to promote opportunities for investment in local and regional markets, featuring opportunities and successes in local and regional markets in reducing the import bill and contributing to nutrition security and healthy diets.

It is often difficult to engage rural farmers in the chain of people involved in trading their products. The second panel will explore how to engage these farmers in the supply chain so that they can profit from their labours. From there, the third panel will address ways to build up the links among the agriculture, tourism, trade and health sectors, and ways to promote local sourcing for improved quality and healthy food.

Because of the nature of the conditions that exist in the Pacific, many small and medium-sized enterprises struggle to succeed. The final panel will discuss what financial institutions can do to support these businesses and how to form profitable strategic alliances with them. As further background, two breakout sessions with financers will deal with examples of what has and has not worked in terms of getting access to finance.

Within the overall theme of incorporating more local food into the Pacific market, there will be a training programme for chefs on 30 and 31 August, organised by SPTO. Sessions will include training and live cooking classes with celebrity chefs, to promote the use of local food and cuisine, adapt local produce to the tastes of international visitors, add elements of South Pacific cooking into modern cuisine and lay the basis for the training of a new generation of local chefs.

"Linking agriculture to tourism-related markets is key for agribusiness development in the Pacific region," said Isolina Boto. "We are very excited about linking the various sectors and working with Chefs for Development to promote better market access for local farmers and agribusiness actors to the hospitality sector." 

 Visit the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum website

Find out more

• Further information about the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum can be found on the Brussels Briefings website
• Sign up for the event at the Event Brite registration page
• Read the interview with Robert Oliver on Spore "Cooking local, stimulating business"
• Learn more about the 1st Pacific Agribusiness Forum on the Brussels Briefing website and on the CTA website
• Learn about the evidence base for the agriculture–nutrition nexus
• Learn about setting policy for the agrifood business
• Discover the Chefs for Development initiative

Stay connected

• Follow the updates with hashtag #PacAgriBiz and #PacAgriTo
• Follow @CTAflash on Twitter to keep up to date

Watch the interview with Mereia Volavola, CEO of the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO)