Can trade be a catalyst for change? With the region’s agriculture and forestry exports seen as having sustainable growth potential – and the ability to transform rural livelihoods, the answer may be yes.
Since 2008, the EU-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project has been assisting 14 PACP countries to strengthen the export capacity of these primary industries.
The €4 million EDF9 pilot project, which is implemented by SPC’s Land Resources Division, works directly with rural smallholders (farmers and tree growers) and export enterprises to increase and add value to exports from the region.
The project has helped transform enterprises into commercially-viable, market-driven businesses that can cope with the shocks of global financial crises and extreme climatic events.
This has been achieved through an emphasis on market studies, value-chain analyses and consistent supply, leading to more focused business plans while targeted improvements have enabled the enterprises to meet international trade standards.
This in turn has helped farmers. For example in PNG, the assistance provided to three coffee enterprises with gaining certifications for high-value niche markets has resulted in better returns for nearly 6000 rural coffee growers.
The project also works at industry level on areas such as improving food safety standards; designing labelling and packaging; attaining fair trade, organic and forest certification; and increasing exports of high-value commodities such as value-added sawn timber, kava and papaya.
In Fiji, the project has helped revive the country’s once-thriving ginger industry by setting up disease-free seed farms to supply more than 400 farmers on the two main islands.
For more information, contact Rajan Sami, Writer/Sub-editor on +679 3370733 or the LRD Helpdesk .
Through the project’s assistance, Fiji-based Kaiming Agro has been able to increase its annual production, exports and number of contracted smallholder suppliers.
Similarly in Solomon Islands, hundreds of smallholder growers are benefiting from research into thinning of young teak plantations, support for trial shipments and development of markets in Asia.
With the FACT project concluding this year, its successor, the EDF10 €9m Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, is picking up the work on a much expanded scale in the 15 PACPs.
In addition to agriculture and forestry, IACT works in the aquaculture/mariculture and livestock sectors to continue to grow Pacific exports and by doing so, improve the region’s integration into the global economy.
These actions are bringing lasting benefits to Pacific Island farmers.
For more information, contact
, Writer/Sub-editor on +679 3370733 or the
Caption: Factory workers clean ginger for export at Fiji-based Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd, a FACT Project enterprise partner.