Project celebrates six years of making a difference

L-R: Fepuleai Roger Toleafoa (ACEO MCIL); John Oakeshott (SPC); Tuimaseve Kuinimeri Finau (SROS); Tagaloa Eddie Wilson (Chairman of Samoa MAWG and President of SAME); Tanuvasa Semy Siakimotu (PHAMA); Saena Tialino Penaia (Samoa Farmers Federated Incorporated Rep); Talei Fidow-Moors (Samoa Quarantine - MAF); Tilafono David Hunter (CEO MAF); Lisi M. Iosefa (MCIL); Raymond Voigt (Beekeeping); Bronwyn Wiseman (PHAMA); Tiatia Tauloa (Taro Industry & Savaii Farmers’ Rep); Asuao Kirifi Pouono (PHAMA); Yan Diczbalis (DAF QLD/ ACIAR); Natalie Dillon (DAF QLD).

When the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (P.H.A.M.A.) Programme was established in 2011, it was designed to help Pacific Island countries improve market access for primary and value-added products. 

Six years on, the Australian and New Zealand Government-funded programme has progressed in leaps and bounds, successfully impacting thousands of livelihoods, protecting jobs and initiating breakthroughs for commodity-exporting households and communities across the Pacific.

P.H.A.M.A. recently undertook a study to determine these benefits, now launched in an Impact Report.  

An aid-for-trade programme, P.H.A.M.A.’s goal is to increase exports of fresh and value-added agricultural products, contributing to economic growth and improved rural livelihoods. 

P.H.A.M.A. supports agriculture because it is central to the economy of Pacific Island countries and is a major employer and source of livelihood for many Pacific families. 

Agriculture is also the second largest contributor to gross domestic product (G.D.P.) in the countries in which P.H.A.M.A. works: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Launched at the Pacific Week of Agriculture in Vanuatu, the Impact Report, available on P.H.A.M.A.’s website, reveals that P.H.A.M.A. has successfully impacted about 142,200 livelihoods and at least 5,600 jobs. 

Recognising that agricultural interventions take time to yield results, the impact study has projected that P.H.A.M.A.’s total economic impact to the end of 2020 is conservatively estimated at T$154.4 million a result of protecting and increasing agricultural exports incomes.

Among its priorities, P.H.A.M.A. strives to ensure that greater numbers of people in poverty are included in trade and export, to facilitate improved incomes and lives. 

The programme has also committed to involving more Pacific island women in training and capacity building activities; empowering them and boosting their confidence to engage further in trade and export.

Some notable achievements by P.H.A.M.A. include:

• Helping to protect Solomon Islands’ seafood exports to the European Union. As one of three main supporters, P.H.A.M.A.’s contribution is valued at AUD30 million (T$58.9 million) from 2012 to the end of 2020. P.H.A.M.A.’s support has helped to protect 3,100 jobs for Solomon Islanders.

• Helping to protect approximately AUD15m (T$29.4 million) worth of annual exports of kava and 39,000 livelihoods in Fiji and Vanuatu. P.H.A.M.A.’s contribution is valued at AUD14.5 million (T$58.9 million) to the end of 2020. P.H.A.M.A. has worked with both countries to put in place quality systems by developing quality standards and manuals and kava quality screening tests. 

• Establishing a pathway for squash exports from Tonga to China. Three-year projections for squash exports into China show a steady increase from 1,500 tonnes in the first year to 5,000 tonnes in the third year, or over AUD6 million (T$11.7 million) over the 2017–2020 period. 

• Supporting cocoa value chains in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa. P.H.A.M.A. has assisted cocoa farmers, processors and exporters to earn additional income which filters through to over 20,000 rural households in the Solomon Islands, 9,000 in Vanuatu and hundreds of households in Samoa. 

• Establishing Market Access Working Groups and Industry Working Groups to bring together members of the public and private sectors to prioritise market access issues and activities. 

Other export commodities which P.H.A.M.A. supports are coffee, coconuts, value-added coconut products, taro, watermelon, sawn timber, beef, ginger, fresh produce, spices and handicrafts.

Over the years, P.H.A.M.A.’s work and support has inspired many farmers, processors and exporters to explore and pursue new goals, lifting their standard of living and contributing to overall economic development. 

The P.H.A.M.A. Programme will continue working to safeguard and grow the future of export commodities and livelihoods in the Pacific. 

To do this, the program will continue to invest in forging effective public and private partnerships where it operates and work together with its regional partners like Pacific Community (S.P.C.), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (A.C.I.A.R.) and others.

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