The Pacific Island States face numerous hurdles in diversifying their agricultural sector and developing viable agri-businesses that can contribute to sustained economic growth. Their small size, large distances to markets and vulnerability to external shocks and climate change are inherent challenges, yet their rich biodiversity and cultural heritage are integral to their resilience and future prosperity.
Creative approaches need to be identified and promising initiatives validated through a consultative process involving the public and private sectors and with the active engagement of civil society including small holder farmers, urban and rural community leaders, women and youth. This would not only ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are represented but serve to generate plausible solutions and build coherence for collective action that contribute to long-term sustainable development and benefit all Pacific Islanders.
The overall goal of the project ‘Promoting Nutritious Food Systems in the Pacific Islands’ is to “strengthen the capacity of the Pacific Island governments, farmer and private sector organizations, and sub-regional institutions to develop strategies and programmes, as well as mobilize financing, that can increase poor rural people’s access to nutritious and healthy food”. Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu are the focal countries.
Why an action plan?
An action plan is a tool that coordinates capacity development actions to favour agricultural innovation and plots the route to their implementation by determining who does what and when, commitments are formalized and it ensures that things get done and that the goals and visions are achieved. It addresses underlying questions e.g. What is the current situation and where do we want to go from here?; What is currently being contributed by public-private stakeholders towards improvement – who can do what to achieve set goals?; Who is involved along the value chain and what are the obstacles/opportunities they face – what are therefore the critical success factors? A clear, participatory and inclusive plan of action includes a well-defined scope and definite targets and allocates specific responsibilities to its identified core actors.
In this regard national and regional action plans in support of value chain and agri-business development were developed by stakeholders from the seven target countries. These plans are based on evidence generated through multi-country studies and consultations as well as national round-table discussions with key stakeholders. During the Fiji Regional Forum held in Suva in May 2018 key innovations, successes and lessons learned as outcome of the evidence-base on the potential of weather-based index insurance; ICTs including mobile phone applications; Pacific traditional foods to positively impact nutrition and health outcomes, and novel approaches to accessing finance and rural financial service provision were discussed in a multi-stakeholder participatory process and the first draft action plans were created.
Action plans created – The process
Participants developed regional action plans based on relevance and high priorities which were then rated by groups representing the various stakeholders e.g. farmers, financiers, public sector officials, SMEs and further refined and refocused. After achieving consensus on the regional actions, multi-stakeholder national groups then reviewed, prioritised and designed national action plans.
- 7 national actions plans for Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu
- 4 regional action plans in i) ICT, ii) Weather Risk Insurance, iii) Nutrition & Incomes and iv) Finance
Multi-stakeholder consultative process
Further consultation and refinement aims to take place using the Value Chain Coordination/ Agricultural Innovation online Innov4AgPacific discussion groups with 220+ key stakeholders including producers, processors, traders, buyers, input suppliers, financiers, technical experts, civil society and private sector organisations, officials and policymakers.
The objectives of the multi-stakeholder consultative process is to:
- Ensure that the actions that have been defined to support the impact aims are in ownership with the stakeholders
- Partnerships and collaboration is being supported