Agriculture sector meets to work on value chain plans

The final stages of completing the National Action Plan for Samoa’s agriculture and fisheries sector is here, with a two day in-depth look at the plan for its stakeholders.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)  have gathered the relevant ministries and stakeholders to validate the national plan, and confirm that the goals are indeed what Samoa needs.

National consultant for the project, Lafaele Enoka, said the goals are to strength the sector to not only develop programs and strategies but also mobilise financing, all in a bid to improve nutrition across Samoa and the Pacific.

“Regulations and policies create an environment which support development, and make room for the sector to flourish,” Mr Enoka said.

According to the research he presented, 75 per cent of deaths in the Pacific are non-communicable disease related. Improving nutrition is key to ending that.

The national plan has four key themes, which will be looked at closely by the validation workshop. They are nutrition (reducing non-communicable diseases and increasing food crop incomes), finance and insurance, and an ICT communication system for farmers.

All this rests on the plan to develop local food crop and fish value chains, to get the most out of the market.

The workshop has two aims on top of validating the plan, Mr Enoka explained: to agree on the ned to value chain coordination and innovation, and to develop robust communication platform for farmers and fishers to share, learn and improve.

Gillian Salofai Stewart from Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI) said she is excited to participate in the workshop and help improve income generation for farmers.

“It’s good to be here to listen, to observe, to understand better how we are all pulling together and then look at where we can be connected in and provide support through the work we are currently doing,” Ms Stewart said.

During the initial drafting of the plan in Fiji last May, Ms Stewart said WIBDI was offered to apply for seed funding, which gave them the opportunities to investigate the supply chain, between growing crops to accessing the market.

“We were able to look at strengths and weaknesses, maybe blockages that we can turn into opportunities.

“Coming here and seeing the national action plan, for an NGO on the ground, is really good to see the higher level opportunity for Samoa to set the tone of those key areas and start to look at how we actually progress all those themes developed in Fiji.”

WIBDI will be a key implementer of the action plan on the ground, Ms Stewart said, in ICT, finance, and in nutrition.

Other stakeholders or interested parties at the workshop include the University of the South Pacific, The Samoa Farmers Association, the Samoa Federated Farmers Incorporated, the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa and the Matuaileoo Environment Trust Inc.

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