Pacific stakeholders call on Ministers for action to transform agriculture and improve nutrition

Apia, Samoa, 30 October 2019. Pacific stakeholders have called on Ministers for policy action at national and regional levels to improve nutrition and incomes, increase access to finance and insurance, and transform agricultural systems. The calls were made in a communiqué issued at the 2nd Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA), held in Apia, Samoa from 30 September to 4 October.

The Multi-stakeholder Communiqué to the 2nd Pacific Week of Agriculture Ministerial Delegation outlined the need for stronger multi-sectoral partnerships to build the resilience of agri-food systems to tackle the region’s non-communicable diseases (NCD) epidemic. Greater investment to support research into traditional local food crops and fisheries resources, the provision of weather index-based insurance, and the scaling up of ICT platforms and related infrastructure, were also highlighted as key policy actions.

The communiqué was developed by over 75 delegates representing government officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Health, community-based and farmers’ organisations, agri-enterprises, academia, banks, development partners and technology service providers.

Stakeholders called for more competitive grant facilities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) to enable businesses to improve value chain and agri-business performance. In addition, the communiqué outlined the importance of allocating public finances to attract private and international financing for use at a national level to implement agricultural policies, simplify regulatory processes, and develop the business ecosystem to reduce the cost of doing business. Innovative instruments to enhance access to banking and financial services, especially in rural areas, were also highlighted.

“The only way we can progress with our development efforts is through partnerships,” Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Chairman of the PWA Organising Committee, Hon Lopaoó Natanielu Muá stated. “The discussions during our joint Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry meeting brought about the need for future collaboration. The outcomes from the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services meeting further require partnerships from all counterparts to support our collective efforts in ensuring that what we do today will benefit our Pacific communities tomorrow. Individually, we go fast; together, we go far.”

Sponsored by CTA to attend the event, Solomon Islander Agnes Pilopaso, owner of a cocoa export company, Tupaghotua Cocoa Plantation: “I had wanted to add value to my cocoa beans by turning them into cocoa powder and cocoa butter, but I didn’t know how to go about it. I don’t have the money to build a factory myself, and I didn’t know how to make a business plan,” Pilopaso explains. “Now I have been asked to send a sample of my product to the Samoan exporter, and it seems he is interested in taking my product and in working together. For me, coming to the PWA has been so exciting and so valuable.” Pilopaso’s company won an Innov4AgPacific innovation grant, which has been used to train cocoa farmers to improve their production techniques.

The communiqué concluded with a commitment to continue to work together to develop integrated investment plans to support national and regional priorities, and confirmed that the Ministers would report on progress made at the next PWA which will be held in 2021, in Fiji.

For more information or to request an interview, contact Toby Johnson, Team Leader Communications, CTA, +31 (0) 6 10 88 50 80, johnson@cta.int

About CTA

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Its mission is to advance food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific through innovations in sustainable agriculture. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.

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