Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Launch AgriTouch App

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Press Release

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Launch AgriTouch App

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) in partnership with the UNDP, UNESCO and the Indian High Commission to New Zealand has officially launched Samoa’s very own AgriTouch Application for Smartphones Monday 7 March at the Taumeasina Island Resort.

The event was attended by special guests; United Nations Resident Coordinator, Simona Marinescu, Indian Consul to Samoa Va’atu’itu’i, Apete Meredith and Director UNESCO Pacific, Ms Nisha as well as local farmers and Ministry staff. AgriTouch is a product of the Ministry under the Samoa Knowledge Society Initiative (SKSI); a joint programme of the United Nations under its agencies (UNDP and UNESCO) funded by the Indian-UN
Development Partnership Fund.

The functions of AgriTouch App aim to address knowledge gaps identified by farmers in
consultations with MAF and SKSI partners in July and October 2021 by providing up to date information focused on markets, crop management, and current projects co-ordinated by the Ministry, funding opportunities as well as a tool to track production and expenses for farmers.

In his opening remarks the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Laaulialemalietoa Polataivao Fossie Schmidt said the development of the App is a significant achievement in laying the foundation for MAF to promote knowledge-based sharing to support sustainable development of agriculture. He also hailed the event as a local success story demonstrating the young Samoan tech talent driving the digital agricultural innovation in Samoa.

“Today we now wish to share with you the App designed and named by our very own farmers as “AgriTouch" said Minister Laauli. “While designed by our very own farmers, it was built by Ms Tooa Brown of Brown Consult, an innovative young Samoan woman who is currently working for our Ministry. Therefore, we can be proud to say that it is 100% made in Samoa!”

“This partnership and support from our donors have now allowed us to reach this monumental stage of having the first-ever App developed by our Ministry in collaboration with our farmers. We acknowledge that while we are now taking a step in the digital direction, we still have a long way to go to ensure that AgriTouch becomes sustainable in its use. This will be achieved if the users continue to provide the feedback needed so that our Ministry can continue to adapt it to suit the needs of the users – our farmers. “

The Hon. Minister also acknowledged and thanked the Ministry’s partners involved in making the AgriTouch application possible for Samoa’s farmers, “I wish to acknowledge the funding through the Indian-UN Development Partnership Fund which
paid for all the workshops for our farmers as well as the consultant and our new graduates from the University of the South Pacific studying in the Agriculture Programme.”

“These students together with the consultant collected the information and carried out field visits to develop and adapt the AgriTouch App allowing us to now reach the stage where we can launch it. We also wish to acknowledge the support of our other donor agencies such as the International Fund for Agriculture Development for their support through our Deliverology Associates which allowed for additional time for our Consultant to focus on the completion of the Agritouch.”

Due to travel restrictions, His Excellency Muktesh K. Pardeshi, Indian High Commissioner to Samoa was unable to make the event but his remarks were delivered by CEO Tilafono David Hunter on his behalf, “The initiative was developed in the belief that access to information and knowledge represents for building inclusive knowledge societies. Information not only empowers people to make decisions but also allows them to exercise their rights, be economically active and learn new skills,” writes HE
Muktesh. “The AgriTouch app is an efficient tool for farmers; this will go a long way to strengthen the partnership between government and farmers. Congratulations for the excellent work done on the development of the App which will ensure access to a treasure of information for the farmers.”

“The Government of India through the SKSI looks to contribute towards Samoa’s vision of placing itself as a knowledge hub in the region to help in developing its E-Governments, E-Education and E-Health services. India is a partner and true friend and would like to extend a helping hand to Samoa towards its social economic development “
To close the event, Smart App developer, Ms Tooa Brown gave a presentation on the AgriTouch App demonstrating how the different functions supports farmers with information and knowledge about farming methods, business operations and funding opportunities. The AgriTouch is a free App available on Google Play and Apple Store.

ENDS