Pacific Agribusiness Forum & Pacific Community Agritourism Week 2015 in the News and Media
– PIPSO launches 2016-2019 Strategic Plan and revamped Website
PIPSO launched their 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, and revamped website in Suva today. Speaking from the event this morning, PIPSO’s Chair Howard Politini complimented the organisation for this milestone, “PIPSO has great plans and has much expectations from their members and stakeholders around the region, who convened and actively participated in July this year for a 4-day interactive workshop to deliberate and finalise the organisation’s strategic focus in the next 4 years.” The new Strategic Plan 2016- 2019 was supported by the European Union via the “Strengthening Non-State Actors Engagement in Regional Policy Development and Implementation Programme”, implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
– Tonga look to revive local fruit production
Tonga is relying on increasing amounts of imported fruits due to declining local production. The country’s Forestry Department said they’re working to revive the local fruit industry which has been disappearing over the years. Agricultural expert and author Semisi Pone said he noticed various types of fruit trees dying off while he was living in Tonga. “When I was young in primary school, there was always fruits all the time,” he claimed “There was mangoes, guava, there was oranges, mandarins, mountain apple. They were everywhere and there was always fruits all the time – pawpaw, bananas. But now, you go to the market and there’s nothing there. “I think it’s shocking.” He explained that over the years, locals struggled to protect their trees from viruses and diseases. Citrus fruits such as sweet oranges and mandarins used to grow in abundance in Tonga until they were wiped out by the Tristeza Virus during the 1970s. “So over the past 30 years, the oranges that we had in Tonga were known as ‘Moli kai’ or ‘Moli Inu’ – they’re gone.”
– Cocoa potential in PNG huge: WB official
The potential for cocoa is huge in PNG if strong links can continue to be established to help smallholder farmers get their cocoa to market, the World Bank’s vice-president for East Asia Pacific says. Victoria Kwakwa, who has been in the country to meet government representatives, development partners and visit World Bank-funded projects, visited Kokopo, East New Britain, to meet communities supported through Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP), one of the bank’s flagship projects in PNG. Following a traditional arrival welcome at Kokopo Airport, where she was escorted through a pal na pidik doorway, Kwakwa visited the Pamku-Bao Nursery, where she met women cocoa farmers working as part of the Warongoi-Tagitagi Partnership, which has been supported through bank-funded agriculture projects. The group included Olivia Enman, who is growing cocoa as part of a project funded by World Bank, European Union, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government.
A new World Bank Group report shows that economies in the Pacific Islands continue to implement reforms to make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business. Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, released today, finds that four of the ten Pacific Island economies measured by the report have implemented reforms making it easier to do business – for a total of 9 reforms. This is an increase from only three reforms in the previous year. Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu implemented reforms to improve the business environment. Vanuatu carried out the most reforms, with four reforms recorded in the past year, compared to two the previous years. The reforms included the strengthening of protections for minority investors by increasing shareholder rights and role in major corporate decisions and clarifying ownership and control structures. Also, Vanuatu made starting a business easier by removing some registration requirements and through the digitization of the company register. Now it takes 18 days to start a business, compared to 35 days last year.
– Niue vanilla hits NZ Trade Aid stores
Vanilla from Niue will be the first Pacific product to be sold in New Zealand’s Trade Aid stores in over 40 years. Trade Aid is a not for profit retailer, importer, wholesaler and development agency which focuses on the welfare of its trading partners. Its CEO Geoff White told Daniela Maoate-Cox it’s challenging to import products from the Pacific but this will be a stepping stone for Niue to bring vanilla into New Zealand’s commercial market.
– Fijian health foods stir interest at Fine Food Australia
FRIEND’s Fiji Style products are a taste of Fiji’s tradition. This year, health foods from Fiji FRIEND’s Fiji Style products featured at the Pacific Trade & Invest Pacific Island stand at Fine Food Australia in Melbourne. The beautifully packaged herbal teas, spices, jams, chutneys, virgin coconut oil and gluten free products were developed by a social enterprise called the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development (FRIEND) and sells its products under the brand name FRIEND’s Fiji Style. The organisation works with communities around Fiji in developing products that generates income using local resources and traditional skills. Their chutneys are made from traditional recipes of people from Indian origin who settled in Fiji more than a 100 years ago. Gluten free flours are from the indigenous Fijian traditions. FRIEND’s Fiji style range of herbal teas and spices come from both the traditions and are grown organically by small holder farmers.
– Pacific exporters buzzing after Fine Food Australia
Pacific island exporters were all abuzz about their experience at the Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) Pacific Island stand at Fine Food Australia recently. For some of the 11 Pacific Island exporters who were invited to be part of the PT&I Pacific Islands stand at Fine Food Australia in Melbourne, it was their first time at one of the biggest Food shows in the Southern Hemisphere. This year’s show attracted 1000 Australian and international exhibitors and over 26,800 visitors from 60 countries across the four-day event held from 12-15 September. The Pacific Island exporters included products from chocolate and cacao nibs from Solomon Islands, chocolate, cacao drink; coconut cream and palusami from Samoa, beer, gluten free flour and roasted canarium nuts and chutney from Vanuatu to coffee from Vanuatu – all beautifully packaged and aimed at the discerning buyers.
– ‘Buy FSM made’ label conveys uniqueness of local story
Pacific Trade and Invest (PT&I) NZ partnered with The Federated States of Micronesia’s (FSM) Department of Resources and Development to host a Trade Fair to coincide with the Pacific Islands Forum annual leaders’ meeting earlier this month in Pohnpei. The Trade Fair was intended to showcase and promote the various and high quality FSM made products ranging from clothing (Chuukese Mumu/Pohnpeian Skirts), handicrafts, agriculture (Kosrae Banana Chips and Paper Products) and marine products to participants and delegates of the PIF meeting. A few selected producers from across the four FSM states were displayed and sold their wares at the show, the first of its kind in the country with a nationwide flavour. This was the perfect opportunity to launch the “Buy FSM Made” campaign in partnership with PT&I, which has earlier worked with the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) on the successful “Buy Marshallese” campaign in 2014-15. PT&I designed and printed stickers that were applied on to the products that were sold to an international clientele that had gathered for the leaders meeting. As well as the stickers on the products, the “Buy FSM Made” logo was popularised on posters around the venue.
– Fiji SOE gears up to meet growing global coconut market– Fiji SOE gears up to meet growing global coconut market
Copra Millers, a State Owned Enterprise of the Fiji Government, has a multi-pronged strategy to respond to the rapidly rising global demand for coconuts and coconut products. Among these are the setting up of a new integrated plant in Savusavu that will make an array of coconut products from the much-in-demand virgin coconut oil (VCO) to desiccated coconut and cosmetics and wellness products. Copra Millers plans to export a significant portion of its production. “Machinery for the plant is in place and the manufacturing is expected to begin toward the end of October,” says John Deo, Acting General Manager of Copra Millers Fiji, speaking to Pacific Periscope in Suva. “A coconut products specialist has been roped in from India’s southern state of Kerala, one of the world’s largest growers of coconuts, on a three-year contract to install and run the plant.”
Creating a range of value added products is part of the strategy. Desiccated coconut, coconut milk powder and other food and beverage products derived from the versatile coconut will be added to the product mix in the coming months, Mr Deo said.
– Top Vanuatu beer wins supporters at Fine Food Australia
Vanuatu’s award winning Tusker Beer could be on Australian shop shelves following a great showing at Fine Food Australia in Melbourne. Vanuatu Brewing Limited, makers of Tusker Beer were part of a delegation of 11 businesses exhibiting at the Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) Pacific Islands stand at Fine Food Australia. The show was an overall success for the Pacific Island companies, many of which were first timers at one of the largest Food exhibitions in the Southern Hemisphere. However, successfully securing distribution points for Tusker Beer in the Australian market will top off a big year for Vanuatu Brewing Limited and Master Brewer Francois Lhote and his team at Fine Food Sales Manager Dennis Coteron and Senam Adedi.
– Honiara Gears Up For MSG Private Sector Development Week
The historic Private Sector Development (PSD) Week for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) will be held this week in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Events during the week include workshops and meetings which will be attended by Government officials responsible for Business Development as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society organisations. The PSD Week starts with the Cooperatives Policy Workshop today (Monday, 19 September). It will be followed by the Small Business Development Policy Workshop on Tuesday, 20 September, the Heads of Investment Promotion Agencies and Industry Officials Meeting on Wednesday, 21 September, and the Private Sector Trade and Development Awareness Workshop on Thursday, 22 September. The PSD Week will also coincide with the annual Solomon Islands National Trade Fair which will run from Wednesday, 21 September to Friday, 23 September 2016.
More on MSG Development Week here: http://www.msgsec.info/
– Samoan PM warns against food insecurity
Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has warned that food security in the Pacific is being eroded as people move to the towns and rely on cheap imported food. About 120 delegates are attending the three-day conference 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum in Samoa’s capital. Mr Tuilaepa told growers, manufacturers, restaurant and hotel owners at the Apia conference that the influx of imported food had contributed to health problems for islanders. “Consumption of fruits and vegetables is low and vitamin and mineral deficiencies widespread,” he said. “We often experience food-borne illnesses which compromise the ability of Pacific food products to meet export standards.”
– Achieving nutritional objectives
Focusing on ‘Linking Agrifood sector to the local markets for economic growth and improvement of nutrition and food security’ is the focal point of 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum that is held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel this week. As he officially opened the forum, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said safe and nutritious food at all times has been recognized as a right for all people by the Pacific Health Ministers. “Opportunities such as this give us time to reflect on the lessons learnt from the business models we have been using and linking these to a pathway towards the achievement of sustainable economic growth and nutritional objectives of the region,” he said.
– Expect an action plan with regional solutions
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.
– Addressing agribusiness challenges in the Pacific
Agribusiness is crucial to boosting rural livelihoods in the Pacific region, while improving the health of island communities. A forum aimed at exploring the promise it holds for small-scale producers and other value chain players opens next week in Apia, Samoa. The 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum is being organised from August 29 to September 1 by Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and many partners, with the theme Linking the agrifood sector to the local markets for economic growth and improved food and nutrition security. The event will bring together more than one hundred experts representing the private sector, farmers’ organisations, policy-makers, research networks, development practitioners and international organisations.
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– Putting Pacific flavours on tourism map
Renowned regional chefs Robert Oliver and Colin Chung cooked up a storm using Pacific ingredients in Apia this week as part of the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum. The duo led a special chefs training workshop promoting innovative uses of Pacific ingredients and advocating in favour of greater consumption of local products. The two-day workshop was a joint collaboration between the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Samoa Tourism Authority. It was attended by a total of 25 trainees consisting of chefs, assistant chefs, students from the Australia Pacific Technical College and kitchen support staff. “The Chefs Training Programme presents an important step in scaling up SPTO’s ambitions to establish the region as a prime gastronomic destination,” said SPTO chief executive officer Chris Cocker. Seeing the potential of the Pacific cuisine as a niche tourism product, SPTO conducted a series of regional culinary trainings last year and this year as pilot projects.
– Cook book helps Samoa cuisine industry
The Pacific Agribusiness Forum in Samoa has heard this week that Samoa now supplies a significant proportion of the food consumed by tourists, instead of importing it. And this is being put down to the promotional value garnered as a result of a cook book by noted chef Robert Oliver. The chief executive of the Samoa Tourism Authority, Papalii Sonya Hunter, said in the past year or so they have cut the amount the country has had to spend on imported fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, for the tourism industry. She says as Mr Oliver was researching the Samoan recipes for his regional cook book, Me’a Kai, her agency was looking for ways to brand Samoan cuisine for tourists. “So Robert Oliver came – he wrote write Me’a Kai – and Samoa made sure that most of Me’a Kai, we had the first chapter, but we made sure that all the images in it were from Samoa,” she said.
– Tuilaepa warns against cheap food imports
Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has warned that food security in the Pacific is being eroded as people move to the towns and rely on cheap imported food. About 120 delegates are attending the three-day conference 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum in Samoa’s capital. Tuilaepa told growers, manufacturers, restaurant and hotel owners at the Apia conference that the influx of imported food had contributed to health problems for islanders. “Consumption of fruits and vegetables is low and vitamin and mineral deficiencies widespread,” he said. “We often experience food-borne ilnesses which compromise the ability of Pacific food products to meet export standards.”
– Health concern in the Pacific region
The Pacific region is facing a health crisis that is directly linked to agriculture, food and nutrition. A joint statement by the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) states that obesity rates within the Pacific Island countries are among the highest in the world. In some islands, more than 60 per cent of the people are obese. This, according to the three organisations, has led to an increase in the rate of late onset type 2 diabetes, heart disease, morbidity and mortality. And there is a number of contributing economic and demographic factors, but dependence on imported, cheap, calorie-dense, and low-nutrition foods is the main culprit and primary cause of this crisis.
– Workshop on food tourism
A workshop which hopes to capitalise on the growing food tourism boom worldwide where destinations are offering unique culinary experiences to visitors by encouraging qualified chefs in the region to work with local communities to source local food resources for their menus and use greater innovation and creativity in food preparation is in progress in Samoa. The two-day culinary training workshop in Apia, Samoa aims to improve the knowledge and skills of culinary business owners in the South Pacific region as well as chefs from small and medium-sized hotels in Samoa. The workshop features South Pacific chef ambassadors Robert Oliver and Colin Chung.
– Culinary training to boost food tourism in the region
A two-day culinary training workshop being held in Apia, Samoa this week aims to improve the knowledge and skills of culinary business owners in the South Pacific region as well as chefs from small and medium sized hotels in Samoa. The Chefs Culinary Training workshop is a joint collaboration between the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Samoa Tourism Authority. There will be around a total of 25 trainees consisting of chefs, assistant chefs, APTC students and kitchen support staff.
– Fiji Removes Departure Tax For Short-Term Visitors
Fiji has moved to shore up its tourism industry by removing the controversial departure tax for people who stay in the country for less than 72 hours. The fee was increased from FJ$150 to FJ$200 in 2014 as a way to boost funding for aviation authorities and environmental programs. But Fiji Tourism Association boss Dixon Seeto says the tax made it hard for the country to remain competitive. “The departure tax is among the highest in the world. What basically makes the cost of a holiday package is airfares and accommodation. So when you have excessive taxes on both, and when you combine the two, the price will be much higher,” he told the Fiji Times.
A Fijian investor intends to give back to his community by making a $1m investment in ecotourism and agriculture at Seru on Viti Levu. The project aims to create approximately 150 jobs and harness the growing positive trend in ecotourism in Fiji in general. The investor was represented at the two-day Investment Exploratory seminar jointly organised by the Fiji Consulate General’s Office in Sydney, Investment Fiji and the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest held at Novotel in Lami.
A five (5) day training workshop targeting PIFON member farmers/farmer organisations involved in off-season vegetable production was conducted by PIFON in collaboration with the EU funded, SPC implemented Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP). The overall objective of the training was to enhance the ability of farmers around the Pacific region to profitably engage in vegetable production for food security and to take advantage of market opportunities (including off-season). The ‘off-season’ in the South Pacific takes place in the rainy summer months (November to April) when production of certain vegetables such as tomatoes, English cabbage, French bean, lettuce, cauliflower and zucchini is severely restricted by the high rainfall, temperature, humidity and a high incidence of pest and disease problems. As a result, there is a severe shortage in supply and prices are high during this period.See the video here.
– Caribbean and Indian Ocean agribusinesses share best practice with the Pacific
Some of the Caribbean and Indian ocean’s best agribusinesses are sharing tips with their Pacific counterparts at a forum in Nadi. Organised as part of Pacific Community Agritourism Week, the forum is intended to increase cooperation between the agriculture and tourism sectors, with the aim of bolstering the success of both. But as things stand, Minoru Nishi, managing director of the Tongan producer-exporter Nishi Trading, says persuading tourism businesses to source their goods locally is an ongoing issue across the region.
– Synergies for Pacific agriculture & tourism: linking experts for the first time
It is crucial for those in our agriculture and tourism Industries in the pacific region to be working together to understand each others needs in adequately catering for the growing influx of tourists visiting our shores. And this is precisely why the South Pacific Community and the European Union have come together to hold a week-long forum in Nadi harnessing the message of Agritourism and globalising Pacific Agri-Foods through our Tourism sectors. Bringing two of the Pacific’s biggest money earners to one table to ensure Agritourism will adequately serve the needs of our visitors when it comes to the consumption of locally produced food… Farmers and Chefs from countries around the region will discuss and mull over ways of pinpointing opportunities for the agriculture and agribusiness sectors with the growing tourism markets in the region. For the funding member of the forum in Denarau Island, the European Union, working with its implementing agency, the SPC and other agencies at the meeting is all part of its growth plan for regions like ours the world over.
– Agritourism Week 2015 in the Pacific
Celebrity chefs Shailesh Naidu, Collin Chung and Robert Oliver will be part of the agritourism week to take place at the Sofitel Denarau from Monday week, 29 June to July 3. Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) Secretariat of the Pacific Community Information and Communications Assistant, Brittany Hazelman said the aim of the event was to find innovative ways to reduce poverty and linking subsistence agriculture to the tourism industry…Providing their technical and business perspective as well during the event will be the African Caribbean Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) Technical Centre for Agricultural, Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO).