Vanuatu Minister of Agriculture, Matai Seremaiah Nawalu, Ms Maria Lini, PNG Women in Agriculture and Mrs Jiu Daunivalu, Fiji Crops & Livestock Council at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding of Pacific partnerships for agriculture

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to strengthen the cooperation and partnerships between some important regional farming organisations at the Pacific Week of Agriculture in Port Vila last week.

The Papua New Guinea Women in Agriculture have joined forces with the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council, the Vanuatu Farm Support Association, the PNG Women in Business, PNG women in Coffee and a Ni-Van cooperative, Neleya Eco-Farm Enterprises and the Vanuatu Agri-Tourism Steering Committee to recognize the important contribution that they can make in supporting agritourism across the Pacific.

The MoU was signed in the presence of the Minister of the Vanuatu Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forests, Fisheries and Biosecurity, the Hon. Matai Seremaiah Nawalu, and the Director General of the Ministry, Mr Benjamin Shing.

The MoU recognises that tourism and agriculture have strong complementary roles in the development of Pacific Island economies. There are major benefits for the tourism industry if it can easily sources high quality fresh organic produce from local farmers.

The minister noted, “Tourist hotels and restaurants are a major market for local growers to target in their selling strategy.

“When we include cruise ship visitors, the number of tourists visiting Vanuatu each year is greater than our own population.

“Therefore we should aim to supply these visitors as a priority.”

The representatives of the other Pacific Island groups that signed the MoU also recognised the important possibilities of food sales to tourism operators, and the benefits of creating opportunities for tourists to come and visit farms and food processing centres, as part of sharing local culture.