Apia, Samoa/Vava’u, Tonga, 31 Mar 2011 -- Agricultural ministers meeting in Tonga
Volatile food prices and market uncertainties are urgent topics high on the minds of agriculture ministers and senior officials from sixteen invited Pacific countries when they will be meeting in Tonga next week.
While there is no indication of an impending world food crisis, FAO is warning that food price hikes are a major threat to food security for the poor.
Central to the Tonga meeting is how high global food prices transfer to Pacific countries, the causes and impacts of such transfers and what would be the most appropriate policy responses to be undertaken by the sub-region and its countries.
The ninth meeting of the FAO South West Pacific Ministers for Agriculture will be held in Vava’u, Tonga, from 5 to 7 April 2011, under the theme Sustainable agriculture and food security – emphasizing linkages between economic, social and environmental dimensions.
FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf will address the opening ceremony on 05 April in the afternoon.
Fifteen Pacific countries have confirmed attendance, with participation at ministerial level from Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Tonga.
Also in attendance will be representatives from SPC, SPREP, FFA, Pacific Trade and Invest, and PCF.
Other agenda items include policies in support of smallholder based agricultural transformation; commercialization of agriculture; improved plant protection and biosecurity; sustainable diets and agriculture; climate change adaptation, bioenergy and organic agriculture; prospects for Pacific aquaculture; and sustainable financing mechanisms for improving Pacific forestry development.