Today, the European Union and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) announce the signing of a new FJD 20 million (€8.6 million) European Union-funded regional project – the Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) – to be implemented by SPC’s Land Resources Division (LRD).

This four-year project will be implemented across the 15 Pacific ACP countries: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

According to Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Director General of SPC, 'The project will address the development needs of the commercial and smallholder agriculture sectors in the Pacific region by providing a clear, evidence-based framework for sector development, assisting the sectors to link to markets through group marketing and facilitating access to productivity-enhancing technologies. This project also aims to enhance food security in the region by promoting greater coordination and cooperation of agriculture sector activities.'

‘Our intention is to enhance the regional and interregional capabilities of agricultural sectors in eradicating poverty,’ explained Ambassador Andrew Jacobs, Head of the EU Delegation to the Pacific. ‘The growing dependence of Pacific islands on imported food is a regional problem, so there is a need for greater regional action and co-ordination. The SPC is well-placed to provide the know-how in the regional framework and the European Union is a keen partner to support these efforts.'

This project will address the needs of farm households rather than individual farmers, focusing on the needs of women and youth', added Dr Jimmie Rodgers. 'As a result, we hope to contribute to a new policy environment capable of providing incentives to smallholders to adopt new approaches to production, product marketing, and access to new market opportunities.'

More details on the project: This Project is part of a larger EU programme which has an intercontinental or inter ACP dimension (15 countries in the Caribbean and 15 countries in the Pacific) which will bring information sharing and sharing of resources on agriculture policy.The project will support national policy-makers, farmer associations, agribusinesses, small-holders and microenterprises to develop and implement effectively their own agricultural sector policy strategies.

It aims to improve the dissemination and adoption of applied agricultural production research and technologies through extension education, with a particular focus on women, youths and climate change adaptation. The project should also contribute to agricultural enterprise development through improved market linkages by assisting farmer associations and agro-food processors that work with small-holders to improved dissemination of information about new market opportunities and requirements, and build their capacity to facilitate better access to these markets.

For further information please contact Vili Caniogo or Emil Adams on telephone (679)3370733 or email LRD Help Desk on email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .In addition, by identifying how to utilise and build on traditional knowledge, farm extension programmes can help Pacific Island countries to build on their production comparative advantages and productive practices that contribute to more sustainable land and resource management.ll allow increased cash-generating opportunities for rural households without sacrificing family and community cohesion and, ultimately, food security. The endemic departure of youth from the agricultural sector in search of formal employment – a central factor in the stagnation of agricultural production – will be reduced if the agricultural sector is able to offer improved income opportunities to young people.