The Assistant Minister Honourable Sakiusa Tubuna yesterday delivered his opening address at the panel discussion session on “Grassroot Partnerships to Strengthen Pacific Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation”.
The session was organised by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON) at the Pacific Week of Agriculture and Forestry Week-long conference in Nadi.
The ultimate goal of this side-event was to identify opportunities to amplify farmers’ voices and to further support them in establishing resilient and sustainable food systems in the Pacific through strengthened partnerships.
The panel discussion also strengthened areas of collaboration with grassroot organisations, lead farmers, and IFAD partners and allowed them to reflect on critical challenges in attaining food security and climate change adaptation in the Pacific.
Assistant Minister Tubuna stated, “The discussions will highlight our shared objective of unity and the discovery of opportunities to strengthen partnerships at the grassroot level”.
“I can confidently assert that every member in this room shares a common goal of ensuring food security and climate resilience for all citizens in the Pacific region.
“Each one of us can bring forward and share our respective knowledge and expertise resulting in a form of cross-learning environment. The Governments of the Pacific Islands are keen to understand their role in supporting and advocating the bottom-up approach for our small holder farmers.”
“The Government holds a tremendous amount of responsibility in amplifying rural voices at the local and regional level in order to strengthen food security and climate change adaptation.”
The Assistant Minister also reaffirmed that the Government of Fiji has received priceless support from the Pacific Farmers Association and IFAD in strengthening small-scale farmers resilience against external shocks and the impacts of climate change.
“Strategic partnerships such as the one that is gathered here today have provided their strong support in strengthening the livelihoods of smallholder farmers especially of the most vulnerable groups – by providing access to market linkages, robust information sharing, and a supportive policy environment,” Assistant Minister Tubuna added.
The Assistant Minister expressed his sincere gratitude on behalf of the Fijian Government towards the Government of Australia, PIFON, and IFAD for its support in helping farmers in the Pacific region recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the Pacific Islands Rural and Agriculture Stimulus Facility (PIRAS).
He stated that the joint partnerships demonstrate a prime example of how farmer organizations play a crucial role in providing support to rural women, men and youth to become more self-reliant, increase their farm production and ultimately promote food security and nutrition.
The Government of Fiji has increased its emphasis on the agriculture sector and for many years promoted small-scale farming activities.
The People’s Coalition Government Agriculture sector policy agenda is designed to build modern agriculture in Fiji as an organized and integrated system of production, processing and marketing crops, improve delivery of agriculture support services, and generate funds and secure investment through foreign investments and private-public partnerships and improve policy formulation and implementation.