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US$23 million for boosting farming, fishing productivity

A US $23.55 million project to increase the productivity of and access to markets by selected Samoan agricultural and fisheries producers will be launched next week.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.) will officially launch the Samoa Agriculture & Fisheries Productivity and Marketing (S.A.F.P.R.O.M.) Project on March 5 at the Apita o Pisaga Hall in Savai’i.

According to a statement from the M.A.F., the total project cost will be co-funded by the World Bank, which will contribute US$19.95m, and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (I.F.A.D.), which will chip in US$3.6m. 

“The project will be implemented over five years by the M.A.F. with assistance from the Samoa Business Hub and the Samoa Development Bank on the Matching Grant Program, and from the Ministry of Finance on the Contingency Emergency Response Component,” the M.A.F. said in a statement.

The project is intended to build upon the work of the Samoa Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project (S.A.C.E.P.).

“Its main project development objectives are: to increase the productivity and access to markets by selected producers; to improve management of targeted productive natural resources and, in the event of an eligible crisis or emergency, to provide an immediate response to the eligible crisis or emergency,” the Ministry said. 

The project consists of four main components. 

“Component one looks at strengthening national institutions,” the Ministry said. 

“Its main aim is to create an enabling environment for increased productivity and access to markets for targeted farming and fishing households and private sector along the targeted value-chains (inputs suppliers, agro-processors, etc.).

“It will address institutional capacity gaps both within M.A.F. and national producers’ organisations and stakeholders.”

The project’s second component focuses on strengthening the performance of selected value-chains specifically to increase on-farm productivity in fruits and vegetables. It will also assist tree-crop and livestock farming households who wish to upgrade to semi-commercial status and promote sustainable fisheries options for fishing households and organisations.

The project also seeks to strengthen linkages between farming and fishing households and other parts of the “value chain” including input suppliers, agro-processors and traders. 

“Component three focuses on the establishment of the Agriculture Sector Coordination Division within [the] M.A.F. to coordinate not only the S.A.F.P.R.O.M. project but all development projects for the sector. 

“Component four is the Contingency Emergency Response that will allow the Government to reallocate resources to meet priority sector needs in case of a natural disaster.

“During the launch, M.A.F. will be utilising the opportunity for wider consultations with farmers and fishers regarding the project and its processes.”

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