Samoa receives US$20 million World Bank grant

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$20 million ($51 million tala) grant to support Samoa’s agriculture and fisheries sectors.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Lopao'o Natanielu Mua, said the grant will be used in line with Samoa’s Agriculture Sector Plan and the Samoa Government looks forward to working with the World Bank.

“Delivering sustainable, consistent benefits from our agriculture and fisheries sectors is critical to the economic prosperity of Samoa,” he said, in a statement issued by the multilateral financial institution. 

“Guided by our Agriculture Sector Plan, we look forward to working with the World Bank to achieve our goal of increased food, improved nutrition and more secure incomes for Samoans.”

The World Bank’s Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Michel Kerf, said their work in the region has shown that investments in public infrastructure access to finance for smallholder farmers, can transform the agricultural and fisheries sectors in countries like Samoa. 

“We are proud to be working with the Government of Samoa to create a more commercially-oriented sector, which will support Samoan farming and fishing households gain greater access to market and increase the availability of locally produced food.”

The World Bank said the grant – which will be disbursed under the Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity and Marketing Project under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries – will strengthen the management, productivity and climate resilience of Samoa’s agricultural and fisheries sectors and support Samoan farmers and fishers to improve links with agro-processors and traders.

A key part of the project is the rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure, including nurseries, crop drying facilities and cold storage at fish markets; all to be built or rehabilitated to disaster-resilient standards.

A matching grants program will also be implemented to support 700 subsistence and semi-commercial farmers, together with 20 producers’ organisations, as well as micro- and small enterprises, to increase productivity and access to markets. Additionally, the project will strengthen the management of Samoa’s shared oceanic and coastal fisheries by improving surveillance, increasing national engagement in formal fisheries negotiations and growing Samoa’s capacity to export fish and fish products.

While 97 per cent of Samoa’s 30,000 households grow crops or raise livestock, the World Bank said Samoan agriculture and fisheries are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Like many Pacific countries, Samoa also faces economic challenges related to its small size and remoteness. The country's economic growth is also constrained by high prevalence of non-communicable diseases including diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

The US$20 million grant will come from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the most in-need countries, with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) contributing an additional US$3.6 million ($9 million tala) to the project.

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