(PACIFIC COMMUNITY – SPC); The seventh regional meeting of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HoAFS) meeting opened on Tuesday 1 October in Apia, Samoa with an address from the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (MAF/SROS), Afioga Lopaoo Natanielu Mua.
The Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries – Samoa welcomed the Heads of Departments from the SPC member countries. He urged participants not just to ‘think of the farmers’ but called on them ‘to make sure that they know your farmers, and translate their thoughts into the work plans that you implement. It is for those farmers and stakeholders that the plans are written. We must bring farmers into the fold, so that policies and plans closely reflect their needs.’
The objective of the HoAFS is to reconnect with leaders from the Pacific region, identify critical concerns and map thematic areas for sustainable development. Specifically, the HoAFS meeting aims to re-energise engagement and partnerships with stakeholders; share information on progress and results of recent and current action and establish new initiatives and highlight emerging partnerships.
The Pacific-Community-SPC Deputy Director General (DDG) Dr. Audrey Aumua said that “the Land Resources Division has developed competencies in thematic areas that are unique in the Pacific, even at global level, for example the work on genetic resources, Participatory Guarantee Systems for organic certification and the ground breaking soils work on Atoll islands with SPC’s esteemed partners.”
Dr. Aumua also called on the Heads of Agriclture and Forestry to tap into SPC’s capabilities to continue to build the resilience of national food and nutrition security systems and to improve the sustainability of farming and forested landscapes. This will assist in achieving national Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The HoAFs meeting provides an opportunity for SPC country members to provide direction to Land Resources Division on its priorities for the next 2 years.
Present at the official opening of the HoAFS meeting were representatives and observers representatives from our member countries, development partners, technical partner agencies, civil society agencies, and representatives of private and public sector agencies.
Feature Photo: Jean Pierre Niptik, Photojournalist from Vanuatu.