Agricultural leaders from around the Pacific converged on Apia for the Pacific Week of Agriculture.
The week-long event saw Agriculture Ministers and representatives from 28 Pacific countries meet to discuss agricultural challenges facing the region, with the conference theme encouraging better partnerships for sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
Hosted by the Samoan Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, the 2019 gathering marked the second time the event has been held, following the inaugural Pacific Week of Agriculture in Vanuatu in 2017.
‘Pacific Week of Agriculture was an excellent opportunity for ACIAR to exchange knowledge and consult with national and regional research and development agencies to refine our strategic direction in the region,’ said ACIAR CEO Professor Andrew Campbell.
‘The Pacific faces unique agricultural development challenges. From potential economic shocks such as sudden changes to already-high food and fuel prices, through to ongoing exposure to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.
‘While there are significant challenges facing the Pacific Community, there are also opportunities for each country to produce more and healthier food locally, to reduce reliance on imports and to improve livelihoods for local producers’ Professor Campbell said. ‘We’re looking forward to continuing to work together with our partner organisations to ensure that agricultural research supports a more resilient Pacific family.’
ACIAR is currently investing more than A$22 million in agricultural research and development partnerships across nine countries in the Pacific, including Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
As well as meeting with partner organisations and participating in official events, ACIAR co-hosted side events focusing on plant biosecurity, coconut production, agricultural journalism and leadership development for ACIAR Alumni.
Pacific Week of Agriculture took place from 30 September to 4 October 2019 at the Samoa Conference Centre in Apia. More information is available on the event website.