The new AgLinks internet resource has been developed to help farmers and others in agri-business to make more money from the ‘value chain’ that takes their produce from farm to fork.
AgLinks provides agriculturalists with ideas, value chain analysis tools, contacts, videos and success stories from the Pacific that show how adding value to crops, produce and agricultural supplies – such as by processing vegetables into packaged goods – can increase profits.
Mr Sairusi Bulai, Acting Director of the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), says there are opportunities for farmers to meet growing consumer demand for more packaged and frozen foods, and for better quality and organic produce in supermarket fresh food aisles.
‘For a long time, Pacific farmers have supplied local and overseas markets with raw crops, but these markets are becoming increasingly competitive, plus there is the issue of growing demand from consumers for pre-prepared and packaged goods,’ said Mr Bulai.
‘Consumers are getting busier, so they want food that is ready to cook or ‘heat and eat’, and the good news is they are happy to pay extra for this convenience, opening a great market opportunity for Pacific farmers.’
‘Adapting to these changing markets is very much in the interest of local farmers and producers of agricultural goods, not just to survive but also to potentially improve their earnings,’ he said.
Ms Anju Mangal of SPC said AgLinks has been developed by the Land Resources Division with input from farmers and agriculturalists across the Pacific, who made direct requests for changes and additions to the site before its launch. According to Ms Mangal, some farmers still struggle to access internet or high speed internet, but with the use of mobile phones there’s a fair chance that farmers will be able to access the portal without having to worry about affordability issues.
AgLinks is funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), which is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). According to Mr Andrew Shepherd of CTA, the website will address a gap in information exchange in the agricultural sector. ‘Until now, people have not been sharing information readily,’ said Mr Shepherd, ‘with the result that governments, NGOs, donors and the private sector do not know what is happening in other parts of the Pacific.’
Mr Bulai notes there is a common misconception in the Pacific that farming only provides a subsistence living, but he says: ‘Using the value chain to supply value-added farm products is proving to be a multi-million dollar business. A lot of very rich farmers globally have taken advantage of these opportunities,’
‘It’s a great time for people in the Pacific to make a financially rewarding career in farming and agriculture, given the natural blessings of our climate and soils.’
Visit www.aglinks.net to explore AgLinks – a Pacific-wide project to support growth in the agricultural sector.
For more information: Aglinks web portal: http://www.aglinks.net
For any further queries: Contact
via the SPC office: +679 3370733. Alternatively, you may contact the
: +679 3370733