Pacific Agricultural & Forestry Policy Network

Effective policies rely on good information. Policy makers from the region identified weak communication, poor engagement of stakeholders, and lack of timely information as constraints to the development of effective Pacific agricultural and forestry policies and the enforcement and implementation of existing ones. A robust regional information exchange was identified as a valuable tool to strengthen communication in the area of agricultural and forestry policy.

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Documents

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PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for February 2015 Discussion PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for February 2015 Discussion

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Date added: 03/05/2015
Date modified: 04/09/2015
Filesize: 399.07 kB
Downloads: 1092

Query 4: Animal Welfare

The PAFPNet topic for the month of February, “Animal Welfare” emphasized four questions that triggered a constructive discussion among the network members. From the discussion feedback, Animal Welfare had been highlighted as an area lacking perception and full awareness. Hindrances, benefits and promotional ideas were examined regarding the notion of implementing animal welfare practices. This discussion topic provided a clear platform of actions that must be taken in order to achieve effective enforcement of animal welfare in the region.

The core deterrent factor of animal welfare development was identified as the lack of or limited knowledge of humans regarding animal well-being. On the same note, members highlighted that in order for there to be a positive, effective change in animal welfare practices and engagement, the attitude among the Pacific Islanders must change towards both companion and livestock animals. Moreover, other contributing factors were mentioned as key limitations to animal welfare development in the PICTs. The lack of priority given to the well-being of animals stems from the lack of awareness and education on understanding the animals’ physical characteristics and certain behaviour patterns. In addition, cultural issues were also underlined in the forum as a barrier to animal welfare progress and development. Some cultural beliefs in the PICs, according to the members, prove to be unsympathetic to animal upkeep, which brings us back to the lack of education among this population.

However, on a more positive note, participants in the discussion provided key benefits of practicing Animal Welfare. Some of these benefits included increased productivity as a result of proper treatment towards livestock animals. Healthy animals are proven to be more productive than stressed animals in livestock husbandry practices. Additionally, stemming from having more productive livestock animals, there is a high likelihood of an increase in income and animal performance which counts as a plus factor for humans. In reference to companion animals, they provide security as well as provide companionship for their owners. Dogs in particular provide a much cheaper means for hunting in the PICs and protection.

Human comfort is always given priority when referring to the output of animals. In observing animal welfare guidelines, the effectiveness of animal production can reach its peak taking into consideration its providence towards organic fertilisers from their manure, ploughing agricultural land and their bi-products, that is, feathers for artefacts and teeth for decorations. Moreover, an additional advantage in practicing animal through providing suitable housing and adherence to animals’ natural behavioural instincts can drastically minimize zoonosis. According to one respondent, there should and must be a balance drawn between animals and human beings to be able to maintain a healthy complementary relationship.

On another note, many results were discovered for potential animal welfare promotion in the region during the discussion. Many members reached the common grounds on agreeing that providing simple general awareness would be significant in educating PICs on the importance of animal welfare practices. Respondents had listed strategic methods on promoting animal welfare. The utilization of social media, for instance, Facebook, Twitter and text messaging, was a suggested platform to be used for news updates and key learning tips for animal welfare practices. Also, the implementation of animal welfare practices into school curriculum/activities was featured an important step to increasing knowledge capacity on animal well-being. Moreover, proper Paravet training was listed crucial to achieving the efficient practical know-how of proper animal welfare procedures.

Finally, all members on the forum agreed that animal welfare legislations does indeed have a place in PICTs, however only after carrying out effective awareness. Also, in implementing this legislation, it must coincide with the current environment to cater to existing traditional values and obligations. Lastly, initiating a legislation with the ability to be enforced is important as a basis and framework for PICTs.

PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for September discussion PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for September discussion

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Date added: 10/08/2014
Date modified: 11/10/2014
Filesize: 261.32 kB
Downloads: 1231

Query 1: The management of pesticides in the Pacific Islands Agriculture Production

The PAFPNet discussion for the month of September raised a number of issues as well as suggested solutions. During the discussion, the use of chemical pesticides was seen in the light of two scopes, highlighting both the beneficial aspects of its usage as well as its harmful effects.

Although it was agreed that the use of pesticides does definitely contribute towards enhancing agricultural growth, the effects that follow is the issue. In stating this, majority of the members placed emphasis on the importance of understanding the use of pesticides and following the required protocols in its usage. In having a clearer understanding of its use, the side effects of the chemical would be reduced drastically.

The use of pesticides is a concept that is impossible to completely move away from and is seen as a necessary evil, meaning that the need for the use of pesticides is fundamental for sustaining agriculture.

 Majority of the respondents have stated that the use of chemical pesticides unnecessarily can and should be done away with. It was mentioned that the best solution to minimizing the effects and toxicity of pesticide use would be to simply ban it altogether. In reference to the members’ responses there have been steps undertaken which has already been either considered or initiated by their countries as the result of the detrimental effects pesticide use has on their water supply and human health.

From experience the wise use of pesticides has been identified as an area lacking focus. This discussion provided a platform for all the members to share on common grounds that Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) is rarely used when dealing with pesticides. Bad practices are simply due to high cost of PPEs as well as the humid weather conditions. Also most of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) lack this personal protective equipment (PPEs) and the knowledge to understand the behaviour of each individual pesticide. This lack of knowledge triggers the mismanagement use of pesticide.

The implementation of pesticide legislation and registration is very important as stressed by the members. Imposing these regulations will improve pesticide monitoring in to countries and provide a clearer understanding of the behaviour of each individual pesticide.

 The members also suggested that Integrates Pesticide Management (IPM) approach can be an alternative to the use of chemical pesticides. IPM generally includes the agricultural use of biological controls, cultural methods, pest monitoring, crop rotation, the use of botanical pesticides and composting.

Many of the members have seen the need for a shift towards using organic pesticides. Although, chemical pesticide use is a means for keeping production at its peak it was pointed out that consumers are also making a shift towards the consumption of organic agriculture produce. The discussion did not fail to highlight the high labour intensive work involved in organic farming, but it also did not forget to illustrate the long-term benefits of this practice. Organic farming according to the members will not only improve the soil content and safeguard drinking water supplies but also protect human health for both farmers and consumers.

PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for July 2015 Discussion PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for July 2015 Discussion

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Date added: 08/05/2015
Date modified: 08/05/2015
Filesize: 467.49 kB
Downloads: 1248

Query 8: Addressing Biosecurity in the Pacific Island countries and Territories (PICTs)

 

The PAFPNet topic for the month of July, "Addressing Biosecurity in the Pacific Island countries and Territories (PICTs)" highlighted questions that would help bring to light problematic areas being faced in this industry. The five (5) questions that were presented during the discussion were posed also with the intention of determining the needs for improvement to be better able to shape possible solutions.

Contributors to the discussion had formulated various definitions of the two terms “Biosecurity” and “Quarantine” and were asked to expound on what the terms signified. The forum produced relatively similar classifications of the both terms. Biosecurity was simply depicted as the protection against plant and animal pests and weeds into a new environment. It includes the measures taken to stop the spread or introduction of harmful organisms to human, animal and plant life. Quarantine was outlined as the confinement or strict isolation of specimen(s) (usually exotic) posing either a direct or an indirect threat or risk to existing life forms (native species) in a natural setting. The condition of quarantine confinement is reliant on the notion of whether ships, persons, animals or plants are carrying any sort of infectious or contagious diseases.

The effective and efficient monitoring of border protection against the introduction of exotic pests and diseases in PICTs is impossible to maintain. Discussions had raised key pointers for the inclusion of new pests and diseases with a country’s border. According to members, the increase in international trade and travel (movement of people) is one of the many channels to the high rise entry of various pests and diseases. These channels are considered as a non-deliberate means of border exposure. Moreover, legal importation of goods, animals and plants can be accompanied by pests that may go undetected, sometimes as a result of inadequate checks.

Additionally, illegal importation such as smuggling of prohibited goods was also highlighted as one of the major reasons for border intrusion of diseases. However, various means of exposure were emphasized, including introduction by natural means, a condition deemed uncontrollable. For instance, the wind, ocean and even migratory animals become vessels for transferring various pests and diseases. In the case for migratory animals, this is most commonly found in wild birds that may carry with them the bird flu virus.

Considering the issues posed during the engagement, associates suggested for adequate human and financial resources to be made more available to improve border security. Furthermore, training of staff and quarantine officers on a full range of skills and capabilities related to the safekeeping of our borders was mentioned key to addressing the issue of the lack of staff knowledge and ineffective security implementation. To add on, forming closer partnerships among government, private enterprises, educational and research institutes, as well as the community was deliberated as an effective enforcement element to increase border defence and protection against various pests and diseases.

Lastly, providing the network with the Pest List Database (PLD), most of the members were not aware of its existence. However, many had made mention of its usefulness. According to a comment made on the forum, although the PLD is made available to its users there is still a need for improvement. This database must be constantly updated to help formulate an effective and efficient implementation strategy that will help tackle the border control issue.

PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for October discussion PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for October discussion

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Date added: 11/10/2014
Date modified: 11/10/2014
Filesize: 328.07 kB
Downloads: 1306

Query 2: Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security

The PAFPNet discussion for the month of October on the “Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security”, highlighted a number of concerns on this sensitive topic. Looking at both the strengths and weaknesses in land, fisheries and forests tenure, a common thread identified showed that challenges in this area outweighed its strengths.

The majority of land and sea resources in the Pacific are customary-owned because of its ties to the people’s culture, customs and traditions. As a result of this, it is almost impossible to classify any underlying strengths related to the tenure of governance in the three areas listed. 

In reference to the governance of the tenure of land, the respondents highlighted the issue of land disputes as a result of land ownership. In this case, the registration of land either ceases to exist or its importance is not strongly emphasized. Additionally, because customary laws preside over freehold laws in most Pacific island countries, the implementation of the guideline lacks motivation because most decisions made involving the land and the sea are by families or villages as a whole.

However, it has also been discussed that customary ownership is not the only problem for disputes. A pending issue in relation to the areas of land, fisheries and forests, is the act of involving customary owners in business for commercial purposes. This has proved to bring about more harm than good, as customary land and communal reef ownership have been handed over to foreigners. 

Furthermore, the lack of information dissemination was underlined as a major constraint for improving the tenure governance. According to the discussions, this entailed a lack of knowledge and understanding on the vitality of land and sea resources thus leading to a rise in disputes and lack of transparency.

On another note, many members saw the importance of instituting a department specifically responsible for the registration of land and sea resources in the Pacific as a way to establish boundaries. In doing so, they also mentioned the importance of implementing guidelines to help strengthen and enable existing policies and principles set in place.

There were also some suggestions made for a more effective and efficient application of the guidelines. A promotion of the guidelines at a national level was highlighted in the forum with the support of key stakeholders and high level consultants to help boost the guidelines implementation and use. Moreover, it was also recommended that a training of trainers be organized on the guidelines so that its existence is recognised and people are made more aware of its purpose and importance.

PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for August 2015 Discussion PAFPNet Consolidated Responses for August 2015 Discussion

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Date added: 09/17/2015
Date modified: 09/17/2015
Filesize: 482.83 kB
Downloads: 1327

 

Query 9: Relevance of Policy Framework to Support and Strengthen Agricultural Extension and Rural Advisory Services

The PAFPNet topic for the month of August, "Relevance of Policy Framework to Support Strengthen Agricultural Extension and Rural Advisory Services" pinpointed similar views on establishing a solidified framework for extension services support by tackling central issues. This discussion focused on five (5) questions rendering the key priorities that should be deemed paramount in various countries regarding extension services, its limitations and the roles of various support systems.

Extension services have proved to be significant in the progression of agriculture as well as the development of rural areas. Members showcased their opinions highlighting reasons for of extension services in their countries. According to members, there is a need to implement or update policy guidelines to place specific emphasis on certain agriculture types. This corresponds with resource intensive smallholder mixed economies or large-scale capital intensive production implicating changes in land use and tenure as a means to help forge collaborations with the private sectors and Government ministries. Capacity building and proper training among extension officers and new recruits was also featured to help in the understanding of the various roles and functions in extension services as a channel to strengthen extension and research linkages.

An important element for an efficient farmer support system in the Pacific is the role of the extension services readily available. Funding and resources are essential to carry out an effective extension service system. According to a respondent, network strategies must be formulated to help increase funding in this area. Assistance from the government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) could be the solution to improving the overall extension services to farmers.

The discussion also presented an opposing view stating that in most cases, funding has not the issue. The problem lay with misdirection due to lack of planning and groundwork policies. The efficiency and the effectiveness of the extension officers comes in to play for a practical and operable support system to farmers.  Given the fact that the system structuring of extension services being provided is an area that is lacking, it is vital that implementing guidelines be adhered to and enforced.

Involving farming organisations and the private sector are boosters to extension services support.  Fully utilising the parties services would help clarify underlying issues and address the needs of farmers in the area of extension. Consultations need to be made through these farming organisations and the private sectors; therefore linkages must be enhanced and further enforced to receive the desired outcome with the engagement of the listed parties.

More emphasis must be placed on research and development in order to achieve an improvement in extension, members mentioned. Research and development can be adopted by farmers based on their willingness to progress in the agriculture sector. This implementation depends on the farmers’ creativity, intuitiveness and intellectual capacity. Moreover, according to a contributor, farmers can only adopt research and development if farmers see it addressing their needs.

In order to create the necessary awareness on the importance of exercising extension service support, it needs to be implemented in the education systems of our schools. Rather than have these lessons revolved around the theory aspect, a more practical approach must be considered. Infrastructural support is also vital for the advocacy of these extension services.

Priority training by extension officers must be highlighted to achieve an effective extension service system. More emphasis on understanding ecological, cultural and economic impacts is what is needed by farmers. Focus must be placed on possible long-term effects on a wider scale of the services provided by the extension sector.

 

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PAFPNet provides an opportunity for stakeholders to connect, share and engage in forums and activities intended for the development of effective agriculture and forestry policies.  It also offers a platform for Pacific stakeholders to correlate with those from other regions and institutions and learn from their experiences in agricultural and forestry policy development and implementation.  PAFPNet is forging closer alliances and cooperation with other regional and international networks, particularly with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

To sign up to PAFPNet and receive regular information related to Agriculture and Forestry policy development please email [email protected] with the subject line ‘Subscribe to PAFPNet’.