Regional Forum

Developing Pacific Local Food Crops & Fisheries Value Chains – Key Innovations & Critical Success Factors

When: 7 – 10 May 2018

Where: Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva, Fiji

 

Background

In 2016, CTA and IFAD launched a 4-year project on “Promoting Nutritious Food Systems in the Pacific”, which is being implemented in partnership with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO). The overall project goal 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. Innovation is needed in all spheres of agricultural and related economic activities; from farm to table, and that the enabling policy and regulatory framework and access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) as well as innovative and flexible insurance, finance and business services are critical.

 

About the event

A regional forum is organised from 7 – 10 May 2018 in Fiji to share the results and recommendations from commissioned multi-country studies and national and regional consultations on the agriculture/nutrition nexus; weather risk management and tools; agricultural and value chain finance; business development; novel ICTs and priority nutrition sensitive value chains. This cross-learning event will bring together around 100 key stakeholders; senior officials and experts from the public and private sector and producer, women and community based organisations to craft the way forward for collective national and regional action that can lead to the further development and upgrading of Pacific local food crops and fisheries value chains for improved food and nutrition outcomes, livelihoods and income and sustainable natural resource management.

 

Paving the way forward to national and regional action:

The themes and why they are essential in the development and upgrading of Pacific local food crop and fisheries value chains:

Agricultural finance and business development:

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 Pacific countries? Would a regional approach to designing the enabling policy and regulatory framework for 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?

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 access 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?

Enabling agriculture and nutrition policies and programmes:

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? Would a regional perspective prove essential?

ICT use in agriculture:

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. In Fiji, 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?