PACER Plus Initiative Supports Samoa’s Agricultural Export Capacity

15 Mar 2024

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus Implementation Unit (PPIU) handed over 800 harvest bins to the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries today.

The handover ceremony marks a pivotal moment in addressing a persistent challenge faced by Samoan farmers – the loss and damage of harvested commodities during transportation to processing and cleaning facilities. This issue has long hindered Samoa's ability to fully capitalise on its agricultural potential in the global market.

Hon. Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt (fourth from left), Samoa's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, shakes hands with Mr. Roy Lagolago, Head of PPIU, and H.E. Will Robinson, Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, with Samoan exporters at the handover ceremony.

Speaking during the handover, Hon. Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt, Samoa's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), emphasised the significance of this initiative in empowering local farmers and enhancing Samoa's export capacity.

"By addressing the critical issue of postharvest loss and damage, we are empowering our farmers to maximise the export potential of our local produce. In doing so, we are not only protecting the livelihoods of our farmers but also tapping into new opportunities for export growth," said Hon. Schmidt.

"With the addition of the 800 harvest bins today, we now have a total of 980 bins at our disposal, thanks to the initial provision of 180 harvest bins by PACER Plus in August 2022. Additionally, the support provided by PACER Plus extends beyond harvesting bins, encompassing essential biosecurity equipment and IT resources to streamline operations," added Hon. Schmidt.

Mr. Roy Lagolago (left), Head of PPIU, shakes hands with Hon. Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt, Samoa's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, during the handover ceremony.

The investment from PACER Plus totals AUD130,000 or WST253,190. This demonstrates a dedicated effort to strengthen Samoa's agricultural infrastructure and improve market access for Samoan produce.

The PACER Plus Implementation Unit leads the implementation of the PACER Plus Development and Economic Cooperation Work Programme, jointly funded by the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

H.E. Will Robinson, the Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, who was present at the handover, said: "Australia is proud to support initiatives like these that not only strengthen Samoa's agricultural sector but also foster sustainable economic development."

The handover ceremony was held at MAF’s Atele Packhouse outside Apia, and attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Samoan exporters, and representatives from the agricultural community.


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