The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries this week launched the “FAO in the Pacific 2021 – Annual Report of FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands.
The report presents the results that FAO-led projects and programmes contributed to the timely and effective joint response by the United Nations family, governments, and other partners under various thematic clusters including climate change, emergencies, fisheries, and aquaculture.
It also looks at longer-term gains made in forestry, livestock, and nutrition and food safety work and highlights how statistics and policy programmes supported key data, reporting, planning, and decision-making, including assisting several nations to develop various national censuses.
MAF Minister, Laauli Leuatea Schmidt says their partnership with FAO in Samoa, specifically during 2021 led to several projects and together they hosted the physical gathering component of the inaugural Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Solutions Forum on 30 and 31 August 2021, during which the SIDS Solutions Platform was launched by the FAO Director General.
“This was an important activity for our partnership because it happened during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but more importantly, it allowed our collective Pacific Governments to share with the world our locally created innovations and creativity, and how we can partner creatively to advance the achievement of the SDGs.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which I lead, with the technical support provided by FAO, IFAD and other UN agencies under the overall coordination of the UNRC in Samoa, successfully conducted the national dialogues on food systems transformation and developed the Pathway, prior to the Food System Summit.
“Our Samoa Food Systems Pathway 2030 aims to transform food systems for a resilient and healthy Samoa where no one is left behind, and to achieve sustainable food and nutritional security and affordable healthy diets.
“Samoa’s pathway comprises 14 pathway actions involving multiple activities from production, processing, transporting and consumption, and the pathway actions reinforce our efforts to collaborate across sectors in building sustainable and resilient food systems.”
The Minister said, MAF is an active member of the Samoa National Codex Committee, and under the leadership of Minister Leatinu’u Wayne So’oialo, Minister of Commence, Industry, and Labour, worked very closely with FAO to address critical food safety issues in Samoa.
“In partnership with FAO, the National Codex Committee promoted critical food safety awareness among restaurant operators, food handlers and producers on good hygiene and production practices across Samoa. This is important in preparing our country for the reopening of the tourism market.
“My Ministry is also actively working with FAO and our Ministry of Health, led by my counterpart, the Minister Valasi Luapitofanua To’ogamaga Tafito Selesele.
“We worked with FAO to successfully revise the Samoa National Food Based Dietary Guidelines, and at that time, Samoa became only the second Pacific country alongside Fiji to have fully developed National Food Based Dietary Guidelines. This is very important considering the high incidence of diet-related diseases in Samoa.”
Also MAF led a partnership of the Samoa Government and FAO that organized a very successful celebration of World Food Day in 2021.
Adding that the Government and people of Samoa relish the wonderful opportunity of hosting the Subregioal Office of FAO in the Pacific Islands, and it has been a wonderful experience working with them.
“We can only look forward to doing more in the years to come,” concluded the Minister.