Samoa advanced its agritourism development through a policy setting workshop which took place from 13 to 16 December, in Apia. This event brought together over 70 experts, notably national stakeholders representing the fields of tourism, agriculture, trade and health, private sector representatives as well as Samoa’s foremost development partners.

The workshop was organised by the Government of Samoa and CTA in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The main objectives were to develop and validate elements of the national strategy/policy on agritourism, to establish a national platform promoting linkages between the relevant ministries and stakeholders and to identify key public private partnerships supporting agribusiness development.

Samoa's agricultural products make up approximately 90% of its exports, but these are mainly primary commodities with relatively low value added. Producers and policymakers are looking to move agriculture away from the current subsistence model, with the aim of targeting key markets that will help strengthen and expand agribusiness activity on its islands, notably export markets and more recently, the local tourism markets.

According to Papali'i Sonja Hunter, CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority and Chair of the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) "It's all about working together. But we need now to build an agritourism strategy to ensure that we are all working together and that we all understand." She also points out that "as far as the tourism sector is concerned, agritourism as is a form of sustainable tourism."

Agritourism isn't new to Samoa, but in order for the mutually beneficial synergies between the agriculture and tourism sectors to be fully realised, a more comprehensive engagement between the relevant ministerial bodies is needed, as well as stronger linkages with the private sector.

Samoa Wibdi ATPSW

Partnerships bearing fruit across the Pacific

Samoa's agritourism policy setting workshop constitutes the next in a series of agritourism-focused events which have been taking place across the Pacific, bringing to fruit years of partnership and collaboration between CTA and Pacific agribusinesses, governments, institutions and other development partners.

CTA assisted the Government of Vanuatu to organise the first Agritourism policy setting workshop, in Port Vila, on 25-27 May 2016, and was immensely successful in delivering on Vanuatu's goal of initiating an agritourism development strategy. Subsequent to the workshop, Vanuatu held its first ever Agritourism Festival 2016, with the ambition of making this an annual event.

CTA also worked closely with PIPSO, IFAD, SPTO and many other partners in the organisation of the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum. Under the theme of "Linking the Agrifood Sector to the Local Markets for Economic Growth and Improved Food and Nutrition Security", this event took place in Apia, from 29 August to 1 September 2016.

The Forum was instrumental in the launch of the Pacific chapter of Chefs for Development, a platform that aims to promote stronger linkages between value chain actors in the culinary and agriculture sectors, with a view to enhancing the contribution made by healthier, locally sourced food and agrifood products to menus in food establishments across the Caribbean, South Pacific and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Strengthening agritourism linkages is an activity that CTA believes strongly in, as a means of addressing the most critical development challenges faced by Pacific islands. Speaking at a Brussels Briefing on "Agribusiness development in SIDS: the potential of tourism-related markets", Michael Hailu, CTA Director, argued that "Many governments in the Caribbean and Pacific are recognising the importance of this aspect and they are willing to invest in this area. It's not just about making food available locally, but how [to] connect smallholder producers, improve SMEs and agribusinesses so we can have sustainable high quality supply chains for the tourism sector."

According to him, the key is in developing cross-sectoral policy linkages, and creating awareness of the value and opportunity of quality local food and cuisine which captures the interest of the smallholders, youth and the tourism industry, and promotes the development of public-private partnerships in this regard.

 

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