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Three quarters of the Pacific population live in rural areas, largely reliant on agriculture & fisheries based livelihoods.

A large proportion of the Pacific population lives in rural communities and grows their own food. When Pacific farms and farmers aren’t thriving, then rural communities and Pacific people suffer. The well-being of farmers and the sustainability of farms are therefore essential for Pacific people to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

The issues facing farmers are increasingly complex

Issues such as commercialisation, natural disasters and climate change are bringing new and increasingly complex challenges for farmers in the Pacific.  Traditional approaches to servicing farmers are no longer enough to address the current and emerging challenges

Agricultural Research

A partnership between agriculture ministries, relevant public sector organisations and farmer organisations will increase the depth and quality of agricultural research, as well as see more comprehensive and widespread adoption of the results. The need for such an approach has assumed greater urgency with the pressure of climate change, declining soil fertility, population growth and rapid urbanisation and the non-communicable disease epidemic that is currently being experienced in the region.

Agricultural Extension

As agriculture becomes more commercialised and production constraints increase, the need for sound agriculture advice and support has never been greater for Pacific farmers. Alternative approaches are needed to supply Pacific island farmers with the information they require to effectively respond to commercial and environmental challenges. Farmer organisations can effectively and efficiently complement the work of government and aid agencies by extending the outreach of support to farmers.

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Climate Change

With the Pacific region comprising some of the most environmentally vulnerable nations in the world and extreme weather events and natural disasters expected to increase in the future, climate change puts at risk the very basic need for Pacific Islanders to have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food at all times. By enabling farmers to adapt to weather threats and climate extremes in the short and medium term, farmer organisations can assist future generations of farmers to be better placed to adapt to climate change, whatever specific form it takes.

Farmer organisations go further

While the farmer organisation tradition is still relatively young in the Pacific, it has been clearly demonstrated that they have an important role to play in helping farmers access markets and improve livelihoods. Farmer organisations are best situated to understand the context and meet the needs of their farmer members. In addition, governments and development partners can extend the range of their rural services by working through farmer organisations, reaching more farmers with the information and training that they need. 

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