Natural disasters a constraint on local agriculture

Climate associated disasters such as tropical cyclones, flash floods and droughts, are imposing serious constraints on local farmers.

This was one of the issues highlighted during a national workshop on identifying climate finance mechanisms and climate smart agriculture strategies for a resilient agriculture in Samoa.

The workshop is organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (C.T.A.) together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Samoa (M.A.F.) and with the support of Women in Business Development Inc. (W.B.D.I.).

The Chief Executive Officer of M.A.F., Tilafono David Hunter, stated that climate vulnerability underpins Samoa’s development of the agriculture sector and may jeopardise the nation's food security. 

“There are more than 40 per cent of Samoa’s population that have direct livelihood from agriculture related activities, hence the urgent need to identify climate smart agriculture strategies and funding mechanisms that can contribute to the resilience of Samoa against climate change,” he said.

The Southeast Asia Regional Scenarios Coordinator, Dr. Rathana Peou, said that the purpose of the workshop was to better integrate agriculture priority in the future review of the Nationally Determined Contribution in a most simple way, how can we ensure that agriculture priority and agriculture resilience is really a topic of priority when we discuss climate change as well in Samoa.

“Agriculture addresses food security and nutrition with climate change we have to think about what would be the future of food," she said. 

“We hope that the workshop will help the participants build networks, collaboration and partnership in order to really push the discussions on how agriculture can play a major role in the climate change discussions because very few people in Samoa realise that agriculture was one of the top emitter of carbon emissions of 25 per cent, 12 per cent from livestock sector.

“When we look at opportunities to reduce emissions from Samoa this is a huge opportunity that the agriculture sector is holding."

She also stated that communication with local communities on information and knowledge of climate change impacts on agriculture is critical for better collaboration.

“Climate change has become a defining and most challenging sustainable development issue of the 21st century. Small Island countries are among the most vulnerable to future sea-level rise and climate change (Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014)," she said.

“As a small Island Developing state in the pacific, Samoa has been heavily impacted by increasing severe tropical storms.

“Samoa is ranked 30th among the countries exposed to three or more hazards and is expected to lose an average of 1 per cent of GDP each year as a result of tropical cyclones and just less than 1 per cent annually due to earthquakes and tsunamis (Samoa, 2013). Recent extreme events have resulted in approximately US $200 million worth of damages during each event".

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