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Cook Islands pushes for climate-resistant crops research

Monday 10 June 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Economy, Environment, National

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Cook Islands pushes for climate-resistant crops research
Secretary for Agriculture Temarama Anguna-Kamana

Secretary for Agriculture Temarama Anguna-Kamana presented a regional research agenda at the recent 9th Pacific Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (PHOAFS) meeting focusing on identifying and promoting crops that are climate resistant.

Anguna-Kamana said the proposed research was endorsed at the 8th PHOAFS meeting and now in its final testing stages.

The three parts of the research are hearing Pacific voices, peer review, and partners in research.

“The research focuses on identifying and promoting crops that are climate resistant. The next steps are to identify other countries who want to be part of the testing,” Anguna-Kamana said.

Professor Heather Worth of Te Puna Vai Marama is Ministry of Agriculture’s representative on the Regional Research Review Group, she said.

“The PHOAFS noted the progress to date of the testing process of the framework of the RRA (regional research agenda) and endorsed the decision to progress trialling the pilot research in member countries who wish to take part in the research to test the Partners in Research component of the framework of the RRA,” she added.

A key outcome that Anguna-Kamana hoped from the PHOAFS meeting was support from each other and their partners in accelerating positive growth of the agricultural and forestry sector in a sustainable manner and reducing carbon footprint.

Speaking of PHOAFS’ significance, she said the meeting was about “commitment of our Pacific Island countries and territories on the importance of the agriculture and forestry sector and its contribution to food security and trade in our region”.

As a member of the governance group for the development of a Regional Agriculture and Forestry Strategy, Anguna-Kamana also highlighted that the Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Strategy 2024-2050 aims to be sustainable, resilient, and contribute to the well-being of Pacific people, economies, and environment.

“The work is being developed using a strategic foresight process, based on the vision of a Pacific that is healthy, regenerative and secure. There are five action areas – integrated, healthy, regenerative, secure, and enabled.”

Anguna-Kamana said the next steps are the development of a five year “Growing the Pacific” implementation plan, including priority setting, leadership roles and resource allocation, a representative group to define roles for all stakeholders, and time-bound targets for increased investment in agriculture and forestry throughout the region. 

“The PHOAFS reviewed the Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Strategy 2024-2050, and provided direction on the process for finalisation.”

Anguna-Kamana added that the Strategy was endorsed in principle and SPC (Pacific Commission) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) were requested to facilitate the development of the first five-year implementation plan for the PHOAFS and Pacific Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry Services in 2025.

The 9th PHOAFS virtual meeting was held from May 15-17. Tonga will host the 2025 PHOAFS in person meeting along with the Pacific Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry Services.

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