Joint Press Release – 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

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2nd PACIFIC AGRIBUSINESS FORUM

LINKING THE AGRIFOOD SECTOR TO THE LOCAL MARKETS FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND IMPROVED FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

Organised by PIPSO, CTA, IFAD, SPC and SPTO

The 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum held in Apia, Samoa, from 29 August to 1 September organised by the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and supported by key regional partners, has not only identified pressing challenges but mostly opportunities and creative solutions focused on the development, partnerships and strengthening of linkages within the agriculture, agritourism, health, education and finance sectors.

“On my right shoulder, you will see a gold medal. It’s our Pacific gold medal. For me it’s a symbol of what we can achieve. Small as we are, under-resourced that we are but with true Pacific spirits and resilience, we can all become gold medallists.” Speaking at the helm on the last day of the forum held at Apia’s Tanoa Tusitala hotel, PIPSO’s chairman, Howard Politini, emphasised that even small nations like ours in the Pacific can achieve great things as shown by Fiji’s sevens rugby team who made history by bringing back Olympic gold medals for the first time in Fiji.

The forum was declared open by Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielerigaoi on Tuesday, who expressed his concerns about food security and the health crisis that we face in the Pacific. “We are indeed blessed with an ocean abundant with marine life, and fertile soils capable of recovering from the worst of natural disasters that if we only take what we need, generations after us will also be fed from the same food baskets. Our farmers are organic by default and organic farming will be our future.”

Approximately 100 attendees experienced an intensive four days of presentations, industry visits, deliberations, and networking beginning with a Women in Agribusiness workshop and the Pacific Women in Agribusiness launch, that ran in parallel to a Chefs Training on Monday; and ending with working group discussions formulating plans, strategies and solutions which will be circulated to the participants for deliberate action straight after the forum.

One of the highlights in the forum was the dinner prepared by trainee chefs who underwent training with famous chefs Robert Oliver and Colin Chung. Organised by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), and supported by PIPSO and CTA, more than 30 local chefs received completion certificates and prepared a dinner for the participants which showcased their talents, skills and creativity in utilising local ingredients for delicious contemporary island cuisines on Tuesday evening. The top-performing trainee chef received an award to visit the Caribbean and learn from her counterparts there. It was announced that more chefs in the Pacific will be awarded with such scholarships through the Chefs for Development project also supported by CTA.

PIPSO’s CEO, Mereia Volavola, has emphasised throughout the forum that clear steps will be taken from the outcomes gathered. This forum has been a real opportunity to hear from stakeholders in the agribusiness and agritourism sectors, and identify key areas for development which will form components of PIPSO’s support into these sectors. This will entail capacity building and linkages between farmers and the tourism industry in the Pacific; support for agritourism, women and youth in agribusiness, and encouraging the use of locally sourced food as they are priority areas that have come out of the forum.

His Excellency Paolelei Luteru, Samoa’s Ambassador to the European Union and Coordinator of the ACP SIDS platform, reiterated a similar message before he declared the forum closed. “This forum will not just be a talkfest. In the Pacific, action is needed. One of the key areas that have been highlighted this week was the call for more multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder partnerships, as well as solutions that have a regional approach.“

The 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum was organised by PIPSO, CTA and IFAD with the support of the EU, Secretariat ACP, South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Samoan Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF).

About PIPSO, CTA and IFAD

The Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) promotes and inspires the growth of Pacific businesses. It is the premier private sector representative body in the Pacific Islands region, and its members are comprised of the national private sector organisations of the 14 Forum Pacific Island Countries and American Samoa. To learn more visit www.pipso.org, or call +679 7736 300.

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Their mission is to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in ACP countries. To learn more visit www.cta.int, or call +32 (0) 2 5137436.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub. To learn more visit www.ifad.org or call Ron Hartman +62 812 8377 9219.

Event Hashtags: #PacAgriBiz #PacAgriTo

For more information contact: Maria Ronna Luna Pastorizo-­Sekiguchi, PIPSO Communications Consultant Email: ronna@greenhousefiji.com | Mobile: +685 7204827 (from 27 August to 4 September 2016)  | +679 7888 400 (from 5 September 2016 onwards)

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