Why Regional Action Plans?
The participatory creation of the Regional Action Plans aims to foster greater regional policy coherence and consensus for scaling-up successes to achieve greater impact on Pacific agriculture and food systems.
The Regional Action Plans address four priority areas:
- Weather Risk Insurance – Reducing risks to farmers and other value chain actors
- ICT – Transforming agricultural systems and in enhancing value chain efficiency and competitiveness of agri-enterprises
- Nutrition & Incomes – Pacific traditional foods to positively impact nutrition and incomes
- Finance – Novel approaches to accessing finance and rural financial service provision
The Pacific Islands Regional Action Plans foster:
- Shared understanding of the constraints and opportunities for up-scaling local food crops and fisheries value chains
- Endorsement of good practices, innovations and critical success factors with high learning potential and relevance
- Reaching of agreements on key actions and strategies in the four priority areas for upgrading priority local value chains
The four priority areas, why they are important for value chain development and the key questions they are addressing:
- Weather risk management: With no agricultural insurance schemes or any other formal way of transferring weather related risks, the tendency to rely on disaster relief programmes for recovery after the impacts of weather related disasters, hinders the long-term development of the agricultural sector. Fiji is the most advanced in terms of awareness on the concept and benefits of index-based insurance and has initiated the design of such products. Are there opportunities to learn from the process adopted by Fiji and other regions to assess the suitability of tailor made index-based products for the Pacific? Would a regional perspective prove essential? What are the priority crops/ fish species that should be included in such a scheme?
- ICT: ICTs are playing an increasingly important role in transforming agricultural systems and in enhancing VC efficiency and competitiveness of agri-enterprises. They are also creating innovative economic opportunities for rural communities, including women and youth. There is high mobile penetration, increasing internet usage and a plethora of ICT applications have been identified; yet farmers and other stakeholders are unaware of the added value of these services. How can the agricultural community especially farmers on remote islands take greater advantage of ICTs to improve production and market efficiencies? Are there existing ICT Pacific applications and platforms or success stories from other regions that can be better optimised?
- Nutrition & Incomes: The high dependence on imported foods and declining consumption of local nutrient dense foods (crops and fish) are contributing to the double burden of malnutrition; pockets of hunger still exist. National sectoral policies and programmes are disconnected and successful community-based programmes are under-resourced. To effectively address the challenging food and nutrition situation, what are the trade-offs for increasing access to affordable nutrient dense foods and at the same time assure greater profits for farmers and other value chain actors? How can communities be better integrated in solving the food and nutrition challenges? Can the Pacific region capitalise on the nutritive value and bioactive principles in their rich biodiversity? What are the priority commodities for attracting public and private investments and what incentives are needed and at which leverage points in the value chains?
- Finance: Investing in agriculture means supporting local industry (agriculture/fisheries) as well as spin off industries, and lifestyles, and keeping farmers and other value chain actors in business. Given limited dedicated funding for agriculture and agribusiness because of the perceived inherent risks and the high costs for borrowing as well as the difficulties faced in doing business in the focal countries: Are there existing models and approaches in the region that can be considered by other Pacific countries? Would a regional approach to designing the enabling policy and regulatory framework and developing agriculture and value chain (VC) financing mechanisms strengthen the agribusiness (including farmers) sector and enable agri-entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities in domestic and or export niche markets; health and tourism sectors?