Minister: Farmers and Fishers Prioritised in any Budget Allocations to SAFPROM Project

0
160

Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon La’aulialemalitoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt says any reallocation to the approved budget for the Samoa Agriculture & Fisheries Productivity and Marketing SAFPROM project will prioritise farmers and fishers.

The Minister made the statement during a visit by senior representatives of World Bank Pacific and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) who were in Samoa last week to assess the progress of SAFPROM.

“They are in Samoa to discuss with my Ministry staff and Ministry of Finance (MOF) staff the progress of the project, including the potential reallocation of the project budget from one activity to another without compromising the project development objective (PDO) and the overall approved budget allocation,” said the Minister.

“I have promoted to the mission officials that our new Government’s mandate is on the human development of our people and that any budget reallocation should prioritise our farmers and fishers.”

Laaulialemalietoa said Samoa’s Agriculture and Fisheries Sector deals with ‘all things living’ – crops, livestock, fisheries, and its key sector stakeholders.

“It was a pleasure for me to host them and we had some very useful exchanges on how I see Samoa maximise the benefits from SAFPROM for our food and nutrition security, and especially the livelihoods of all our farmers and fishers, and especially our smallholder farmers and fishers,” added the Minister.

The SAFPROM project has a total value of USD$23.55 million, co-funded by World Bank (USD 19.95 million) and IFAD (USD 3.6 million). The projects implementation phase is from December 2019 until June 2025.

The mission delegation to Samoa was led by Son Thanh Vo, World Bank Senior Agriculture Specialist and Task Team Leader. He was joined by Co-Task Team Leader Iretomiwa Olatunji, a WB Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist. From IFAD were outgoing Pacific Country Director, Mr Tawfiq El-Zabri and the Incoming Pacific Director, Candra Samekto. Brian Brandenburg, a World Bank Livestock Specialist and Consultant was also part of the team.

Declared effective in December 2019 and launched in May 2020 in Savaii, the SAFPROM project aimes to increase the productivity and access to markets by selected producers and improve management of targeted natural resources. The project objective also aims to provide immediate response in the event of an eligibloe crisis or emergency.

The Minister of Agriculture thanked the World Bank and IFAD team for their ongoing assistance to sector-related developments and efforts aimed to benefit the people of Samoa.

“I wish them safe travels back to their respective destinations”.