Chinese agriculture, fisheries support to continue
The nation's political climate may be uncertain but technical cooperation between China and Samoa in agriculture and fisheries is certain to continue, a Chinese Embassy official has said.
The Apia-based Chinese Embassy attaché Qi Jingsi told the Samoa Observer of its plans on the sidelines of the Samoa Food System Summit Dialogue last week.
The conference was held at the Lava Hotel and was attended by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F) staff as well as members of the diplomatic corps.
In response to questions from this newspaper, Ms Jingsi said China values its role in making contributions to enhance Samoa’s food systems and has been committed to boosting cooperation with Samoa on agriculture and fishery industry.
“Since 2010, the decade-old Samoa-China Agricultural Technical Aid Project has established 1 demonstration farm, 9 agricultural stations and trained more than 10,000 farmers for Samoa, promoting a large number of vegetable varieties and enlarging the scale of the production of agricultural products,” she said.
“The current Fifth Phase aims to increase local production capacity of vegetables, citrus and broilers and provide training to more local farmers."
According to the Chinese Embassy official, the two governments also signed a protocol on the inspection, quarantine and sanitation requirements for marine fish exports, in a bid to tap into the Chinese market under the premise of avoiding over-exploitation of fishing resources.
“Samoa is acting as an important transshipment centre of fish in South Pacific. China will continue to explore the broad prospect of fisheries cooperation between our two countries,” she said.
The upcoming phase of the agricultural project will focus on “ecological agriculture, recycling agriculture and low-carbon agriculture”, consolidating the agricultural extension system, constructing feed mills and other facilities.
It also aims to add 56 new model farmers in citrus and chicken production by providing 60 new vegetable tunnel houses, planting 1000 high-quality citrus trees and raising 10,000 broilers per year.
The Chinese Government will also supply 80 sets of agricultural machinery and equipment as well as conduct agricultural training for farmers and industry professionals.
In a statement, in response to Samoa Observer email queries, the Samoa-China Agriculture Technical Aid Project (S.C.A.T.A.P) team leader Jim Liu emphasised that Samoa’s food system is facing serious structural imbalance.
He said that in response to the Global Food System Summit agenda of UN, the M.A.F held the Samoa Food System Summit Dialogue on 8 June this year.
He said those who attended included M.A.F. Chief Executive Officer Tilafono David Hunter who Chaired the dialogue; C.E.O of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ambassador of China to Samoa Chao Xiaoliang; Australian High Commissioner to Samoa Sara Moriarty; Food and Agriculture Organisation (F.A.O) representative in Samoa Yao Xiangjun, and World Health Organisation (W.H.O) country representative Yang Baoping.
“The Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General delivered a video speech in the meeting. Taimalietane, [Assistant Chief Executive Officer] of Policy and Planning Division M.A.F. briefed the Samoa's Food System Pathway,” he said.
“On the one hand, excessive nutrition caused N.C.D. epidemic and on the other hand food is heavily dependent on imports. Science and technology will play an increasingly important role in improving dietary structure and developing agricultural productions.
"The S.C.A.T.A.P phase V will focus on vegetables, citrus and broilers by introducing new varieties, new technologies, new machines and new facilities to help farmers develop productions and improve the dietary structure."
“Representatives of government, private sectors and international organizations took an active part in the dialogue, and a report for the Samoa National Food System Summit will be finalized recently.”