Pacific heads of agriculture and forestry services (HOAFS) meeting this week in Nadi (14–17 September) are focusing on the value of agrobiodiversity in addressing food security, climate change and trade challenges.As the meeting heard, the starting point for taking advantage of Pacific biodiversity is good land use planning, and ensuring that the right crops, trees and livestock breeds are in the right places.
This planning has to be supported by good distribution of planting and breeding material. There is also a need to consider the trade-off between diversity and productivity – high yielding varieties may do well in favourable climatic conditions, but fail when conditions are adverse.
An increasing number of young people need employment, yet there are limited openings in the formal employment sector. If more young people can be supported to develop agricultural enterprises and view agriculture as a viable career option, then issues of youth unemployment, food security, and rural-urban drift can be addressed.
The Youth in Agriculture Strategy gives young people a greater voice in decision-making processes related to agriculture. The strategy is the result of a call made in 2008 by Ministers of Agriculture to explore ways in which young people could be supported to take up careers in agriculture. The strategy was endorsed at the 4th regional meeting of the Pacific Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) in 2010.
Following its 2009 seminar on media and agricultural and rural development, CTA has launched its new Media Programme, choosing to host the first Media Planning Seminar in the Pacific. The meeting was organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) with support from CTA and the German development organization, GTZ.
The Media Planning Seminar for the Pacific region took place from 10-14 May 2010, in Nadi, Fiji. During the Opening Ceremony, the Minister of Environment, Local Government, Urban Development and Housing, Col. Samuela Saumatua, made a call to the participants to put people at the centre of media planning efforts if sustainable development was to be achieved in the region.
The more than 40 participants, who included journalists, media proprietors, agricultural specialists, scientists and academics came from:
Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Other experts from SPC, Australia and New Zealand also attended.
20 MAY 2010 SUVA (SPC) ----What is agricultural biodiversity? We often hear about the word “biodiversity”, and when we do, we think of forests and inspiring species, such as the gorilla and the panda. The global media highlight the threats to some of these incredible species and thankfully also tell us when a new species is found.
But what exactly is meant by agricultural biodiversity? Agricultural biodiversity is a sub-set of biodiversity and without it, we would have no food. Since agriculture began, over 10,000 years ago, approximately 7,000 plant species and several thousand animal species have been used for human consumption.
However, it would be wrong to define agricultural biodiversity as just the plants and animals that we eat - its value stretches beyond these crop and animal species, and includes all forms of life directly relevant to agriculture, so not just crops and livestock but also organisms such as soil fauna, weeds, pests and predators.