Pacific Agribusiness Forum to discuss fortification of sustainable food systems

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Pacific Agribusiness Forum to discuss fortification of sustainable food systems

Apia, 27 August 2016 - Some 100 experts from the private sector, farmers’ organizations, research networks, and international organizations as well as policy makers and development practitioners will converge here for a four-day session to identify opportunities for fortifying sustainable food systems in the Pacific and form multi-sectoral linkages and strategic alliances for doing so.

These issues will be discussed at the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum to be held  at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, from 29 August to 1 September. Under the theme, Linking the Agrifood Sector to the Local Markets for Economic Growth and Improved Food and Nutrition Security, the Forum will highlight opportunities for the agrifood sector in local markets, strengthen the organization of value chain actors for improved market access and explore innovative financial solutions to support agribusiness.

Launched during the United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States, held in Samoa in 2014, the annual Forum is being organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). Also participating in the Forum are the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, the Pacific Community, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and the Samoa Travel Authority (STA).

The Pacific region is currently facing a health crisis that is directly linked to agriculture, food and nutrition. Obesity rates within the Pacific Island countries are among the highest in the world. In some islands, over 60 per cent of the people are obese.  This has led to an increase in the rate of late onset type 2 diabetes, heart disease, morbidity and mortality. There are 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.

“We need everyone to understand that the food and nutrition situation in the Pacific is very dire and that we should all be doing our part to turn things around”, said Mereia Volavola, CEO of PIPSO. “There are many factors involved to overcome this crisis that we face, but certainly it cannot be done unless there are incentives to improve access to healthy, local and diverse agricultural produce at an affordable price for consumers.”

Ron Hartman, Country Programme Director, IFAD, said: “Our focus is to assist rural people in outer islands and remote areas to produce, consume and market more local foods in environmentally sustainable ways. We are interested in building local food systems, improving nutrition and limiting dependence on costly food imports that are often of poor quality.”

The Forum will kick off with the launch of the Pacific Women in Agribusiness project and the Women in Agribusiness Workshop. There will be industry tours, and strategies will be developed for improved market access, networking opportunities and knowledge­sharing for women “agri­preneurs” across the Pacific.

Another component of the Forum is the Chef Training Programme to be held at the Australia-Pacific Technical College kitchen. Celebrity Chefs Robert Oliver and Colin Chung will conduct sessions on adapting elements of South Pacific cooking into modern cuisine, increasing linkages between agriculture and tourism and live cooking classes for the trainee chefs present. On Tuesday, 30 August, the Forum will hold three sessions followed by the launch of the Grow Healthy project and the Chefs for Development dinner.

Note to editors:

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

Follow the event live at: # PacAgriBiz¿For more information contact: Maria Ronna Luna Pastorizo­Sekiguchi, PIPSO Communications Consultant Email: ronna@greenhousefiji.com | Mobile: +679 7888 400

 

Press release No.: IFAD/51/2016

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$17.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 459 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.