Samoa prepares to showcase agricultural achievements
The second biennial Pacific Week of Agriculture to be staged in Apia next week will be a chance for Samoa to showcase the latest in the country's agriculture developments, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.), Lopaoo Natanielu Mua, said.
Speaking at a press conference at his office, Minister Lopao'o revealed that the theme of this year's Pacific Week of Agriculture (P.W.A.) will be “Enhanced Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry Systems in the Pacific”.
The event is organised by the Samoan Government through M.A.F. in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (F.A.O.) and Pacific Community (S.P.C.).
According to Lopaoo, Samoa wanted to host the Week so that it can showcase the latest in national agriculture developments.
“We want the Pacific to come to Samoa to share knowledge and experiences whether it is positive or failures so that we can discuss on solutions,” he said.
The Minister said that Samoa can benefit from the conference through the sharing of overseas knowledge and research. If techniques can help Samoa in any way, then M.A.F. will look into implementing them locally.
“Samoa’s status [in] agriculture development is fairly up on the ladder compared to our pacific neighbours; I think if you give it a mark out of ten, we are 6.7 which means that we still have work to do but we are making a lot of progress.”
The Ministry's Chief Executive Officer, Tilafono David Hunter, said that the Week's meetings would be focused on important topics and challenges faced by the Pacific in terms of agricultural development.
There will be other events during the P.W.A., such as the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services Meeting from October 1-2 organised by S.P.C.
The F.A.O. and S.P.C. are also organising the Second Joint F.A.O. and S.P.C. Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (MoAF) on October 4.
Lopaoo said that this year they will be merging M.A.F.’s annual Agriculture and Fisheries show that was separated for Upolu and Savaii to be one main event from October 2-4 at Malaefatu Park, Sogi.
“Samoa will also be celebrating World Food Day early next week with the objective of having food security, at the moment there is a high demand for our vegetables which has led to the increase of prices as well," the Minister said.
“M.A.F. is focused on encouraging our local farmers to plant more vegetables to meet the demand because vegetables promote healthy eating.
“Another benefit for our country hosting P.W.A. is the effect on tourism, these meetings will be bringing in 200 people and that assist our hotel owners because the delegates will be staying in hotels.”
He added that the P.W.A. will feature products and goods from overseas countries such as Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
“We will also have a day discussing women in agriculture with the hope of our women getting involved in that sector of the programme," he said.
According to a media release, the Week will provide knowledge-sharing platforms through side-events hosted around Apia by regional and international organisations such as the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
Other event partners include: the International Coconut Community, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Solomon Islands, The University of the South Pacific, Pacific Islands Farmers' Organisation Network, Pacific Soil Partnership, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation and the Development Bank of Samoa.
Other side events will include some of the following thematic areas: Coconuts for Life- partnerships for coconut rescue and development; exploring research partnerships for agriculture resilience; food and nutritional security in Pacific Island Countries; Pacific soil partnerships -growing sustainable agriculture in the Pacific; Building resilience in Pacific agri-food and nutrition systems towards regional alliances for action; Innovative financing mechanisms for Pacific agribusiness and value chain development; and enhancing public-private producer partnerships in the Pacific.