The week of ‘Grassroots Partnerships for Pacific Solutions’ was convened in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 21-25 August 2023. The event was organised by Pacific Farmer Organisations and local partners Te Tango Enua and Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau with financial support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, U.S. Department of State, AgriCord and the European Union.
The week of events attracted over 180 farmers, government officials, researchers and development partners from 15 Pacific Island Countries with a focus on strengthening partnerships with grassroots organisations to address the key challenges of Climate Adaptation and Food Security. The interrelated events spread through the 5 days and included: Grassroots Partnership Symposium, Stars of Oceania Awards Ceremony, Global Breadfruit Summit, Pacific Agriculture Solutions Summit, Farmer to Farmer Learning Exchange and a PFO Learning & Planning Meeting & Annual General Meeting.
Some of the key outcomes from the week of ‘Grassroots Partnerships for Pacific Solutions’, include:
- Highlighted the important contributions of smallholder ‘family’ farmers to the health and wellbeing of all Pacific Island peoples and the critical role they play in achieving the goals of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
- Acknowledgement that smallholder ‘family’ farmers are some of the most impacted by climate change but also hold the key to adaptation efforts and ensuring food security. Despite this fact, less than 4% of climate financing globally targets smallholder farmers.
- Addressed Climate change adaptation in the Pacific
- Reinforced the importance of grassroots organisations for tapping into traditional knowledge and innovation, providing key services to rural people, amplifying the voice of rural people and bridging the gap and extending the reach of government and development partners.
- Demonstrated the potential for climate resilient, traditional crops like breadfruit to improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods for Pacific people.
- Showcased the impact of local solutions developed by Pacific People to address climate adaptation and food security including: Climate resilient farming, Farm to School initiatives, Agro-processing and Agri-tourism.
- A call to focus policy and investment efforts on: Traditional Crops (staple crops, fruits, vegetables), Improved Traditional Agriculture, Local Food Systems and Value Chain Development and Strengthening of local organisations to deliver local solutions.
- Renewed commitment to forging closer relationships between grassroots organisations, governments and development partners.