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Samoa: Agricultural Commodities Program Workshop

Workshop to initiate EU-funded agricultural commodities programme

A consultative workshop on agricultural commodities will be held in Samoa at Hotel Kitano Tusitala, 27–29 February, 2008. The planned technical consultation will kick-off the All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme, a EUR 45 million project funded by the EU until December 2010.

National and regional commodity stakeholders in ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) countries are the target group for the project, which is aimed at alleviating poverty by improving the incomes and livelihoods of producers of traditional and other agricultural commodities.

SPC's Land Resources Division, the Fiji-based agriculture and forestry technical service arm of SPC, is helping to raise awareness of the All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme.

Agriculture accounts for over 60 per cent of economic activity in most Pacific islands, and up to 80 per cent in smaller island states. However, the Pacific agricultural sector has difficulties in competing internationally and in adapting to changes in the domestic and international market environment. Ability to export is constrained by the narrow range of tradable commodities and often inconsistent quality. Lack of infrastructure and resources also hamper export marketing.

The international community and donors are advocating increased value addition, diversification and trade as ways of enhancing the competitiveness of the primary sector in developing countries. In particular, the private sector is being targeted as the main driver in pushing for change.

A wide range of stakeholders are being invited to the initial workshop - professional organisations involved in agricultural commodities (production, transport, trade, storage, etc); key enterprises in agricultural value chains; government agencies and ministries involved in management, control and supervision of agricultural commodities; financial institutions; quality control and certification bodies; universities, research and development centres; and other non state actors.

The conclusions and recommendations of the consultations will be used to formulate the work plans of the commodities programme. Programme support will give priority to countries that are highly dependent on a small number of agricultural products, where this dependence affects a large number of poor people and smallholders. Multi-country or regional interventions will be specially favoured.

Partners collaborating on the commodities programme include the Common Fund for Commodities, FAO, the International Trade Centre, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Bank.

Facilitators for the workshop will come from the international organisations, the Programme Coordination Unit, and from the region.


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