M.A.F. sector plan review, future focus on small operators
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.) held their final review of their Agriculture Sector Plan for the past five years (2016-2021) on Friday June 4 at Taumeasina Island Resort.
The Ministry's consultations brought together working partners that included farmers and local fishermen, who gathered to evaluate and discuss the advantages as well as some challenges that faced the Ministry during its implementation of the 2016-2021 plan. The review also looked at ways to improve on the development of the next sector plan.
The M.A.F. Chief Executive Officer Tilafono David Hunter told the Samoa Observer in an interview that these final evaluations and discussions of the last sector plan were very important for the Ministry and their partners, as well as all their stakeholders, in preparation for the final report which they expect to unveil within the next two weeks.
“This final meeting is very important for our Ministry and all our Partners, to assess and have a final look at the last sector plan to see if we achieved our set goals in providing services to all the different sectors - mainly farmers and fishermen," said Tilafono.
"From these evaluations, we will see if the Ministry followed the procedures and guidelines from the last sector plan, and also to see what benefit we have, see if our work and the help we provide meets with the needs of our stakeholders and partners, and find out some challenges to work on in the next five years.
“The government sector, the private sector and communities promote strategic objectives to ensure a priority-focused agriculture sector operating within stable policies and framework, to ensure an increased stable supply and consumption of domestically-produced nutritious food products for both rural and urban communities."
Tilafono said it was their goal to improve production, value-adding, marketing, and to strengthen capacity in rural communities. This includes pushing for land owners, farmers and fishermen to use natural resources in a sustainable way; increasing resilience to natural disasters and climate change.
The Ministry C.E.O. said that there has been a lot done by the Ministry in the last five years, adding that they need to prioritise and focus in the most appropriate and much needed fields.
“There are many challenges facing the Ministry, like climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s affecting the needs of our partners. Also every ministry and our working partners, sometimes they can’t coordinate well in providing the services needed for the development of our communities. Sometimes our stakeholders' demands are very high and the ministry tries its best to satisfy and help all of them,” he said.
Tilafono confirmed that the Ministry will focus on small businesses, mainly farmers and fishermen, who need a lot of help from the Ministry for the next five years.