240912AGROFORESTRY MEET OPENS IN FIJI
By Aloysius Laukai in Nadi
The 5th Regional Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services(HOAFS) meeting started this morning at the Nadi International Hotel, Fiji.
Chief Guest speaker retired Colonel SAMUELA SAUMATUA, Minister of Local Government Housing Development and Acting Minister for Primary Industry officially opened the meeting.
In his opening remarks, MINISTER SAMUELA SAUMATUA said that Agriculture and Forestry sectors of the Pacific are facing a number of strategic threats: from rising food insecurity associated with rising imported food prices and shrinking national food production, from climate change and the threat that rising temperatures and sea level pose to our forest resource and food production systems, and from urbanization, the challenges that poses to the management of our agriculture and forestry resources and the health of our populations.
He also said that he Pacific’s population is booming ith estimates indicating it now exceeds 10 Million and is expected to reach 15million by 2035.
This he said was equivalent to a growth rate of 188,000 people equivelant to the population of Samoa- are being added to the total each year, an increasingly, that rising population is found in towns and cities.
To meet the expected demand for food without significant increases in prices, the Pacific will need to increase the production of food by over 50%.
He said yet agriculture productivity in the Pacific is falling, and has been for the last decades as populations move off the land behind.
And he said that with added threat of climate change, the ability of our food production systems to meet this level of rising demands is under threat.
Papua New Guinea is chairing this meeting as this meeting was supposed to have been hosted by Papua New Guinea but due to the Papua National Elections this year this meeting was moved to Fiji.
The last meeting was held two years ago in Samoa.The next meeting will be held in 2014 in the Solomon Islands.
And to meet the requirement for Solomon Islands to host the next HOAFS and MOAFS meeting, Solomon Islands was elected as the deputy chairman for this week’s meeting.
Papua New Guinea is being represented by the Minister for Agriculture TOMMY TOMSCOLL.
And chairing this meeting on behalf of Papua New Guinea is MR.KANAWI POURU, Managing Director for the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority.