Sub-regional Office for the Pacific Islands

National Correspondents

Cook Islands Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Micronesia (Federated States of) Niue Palau Papua New Guinea Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu

Cook IslandsNational Correspondent for Cook Islands (Mr. Tiria Rere)

Mr. Tiria RereMy name is Tiria Rere, National Correspondent for the Cook Islands. I am employed by the Government of the Cook Islands, Ministry of Agriculture as the Chief Livestock Officer.

I have worked for the Ministry for over 20 years and of that twenty, 13 of it in the Livestock Division. My vision since joining the Livestock Division was to improve and increase livestock mainly in the outer islands which will then improve the lives of my people.

In the Cook Islands, a pig or a chicken is considered important in our daily lives especially as gift offerings for Title investitures, Church gatherings, weddings etc. Hence the importance of the FAO which help small groups by instigating small Telefood Projects which benefits the rural people. Now, there is a great improvement of animal in these area giving the people a variety of choices for their daily sustenance.

I am also a keen fisherman and every spare time I get Im usually out either rod fishing or Net fishing with my partner daughter. We also keep pigs and goats around the house and some Taro plantations for home consumption to help alleviate the financial constraints. All excess are either sold or given to friends and family or village commitments.

When I was young growing up in the outer islands, I have seen the hardship of trying to acquire money to buy house hold good to support the family. Since then it has always been a dream of mine for every Cook Islander to be able to support his/her family and to live a comfortable life and not face the hardship of hunger.

Thank you.
Tiria Rere
Cook Islands.

Postal: P.O Box Box 96
Tel: +682-28711
Fax: +682-21881

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FijiNational Correspondent for Fiji (Mr. Osea Ratuyawa)

Mr. Ratuyawa is the Acting Principal Economic Planning Officer for the Department of Agriculture Responsibilities and is responsible for providing key policy formulation advice to the Minister as well as reviewing current sector related policies.

Mr. Ratuyawa has been with the Ministry of Agriculture for more than 8 years and has been acting as Fijis FAO National correspondent since 2010.

Postal: Department of Agriculture
Ministry of Primary Industry
PMB, Raiwaqa
Suva, FIJI
Tel: +679 3384233
Fax: +679 3370307

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KiribatiNational Correspondent for Kiribati (Mr. Tianeti Ioane Beenna)

Mr. Tianeti Ioane BeennaDeputy Director of Agriculture for the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development of the Republic of Kiribati

Diploma in Secondary Education, Bachelor of Agriculture, and Master of Agriculture in Soil Science.

Prior to joining the Department of Agriculture in 2001, I have spent 15 years teaching in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. Currently I am living at Eita Village in South Tarawa (capital of Kiribati) where my home is set up in a way to promote house hold agriculture activities. This focused on maximizing the small area around the house to grow food crops ranging from vegetable crops, food tree crops, medicinal and ornamental plants (pawpaw, pumpkin, tomato, egg plant, Chinese cabbage, banana breadfruit, pandanus, dwarf coconut ). The household gardening aimed to promote food security (availability), nutrition, and income generation (reduce family expenses). All the activities carried on the household home gardening encouraged family contribution at all levels. Compost is promoted in production of all the crops.

Postal: PO Box 234,
Bikenibeu, Tarawa,
Republic of Kiribati
Phone: 686-28108;
Fax: 686-28121

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Marshall IslandsNational Correspondent for Marshall Islands (Rebecca Lorennij)

Rebecca LorennijWorking for the Ministry of Resources & Development (R&D) gave me an opportunity to work with the communities on different projects related to Trade and Investment, Energy and Agriculture. Aside from my work at the ministry, I enjoy gardening and food processing. After attending several trainings on food processing, I travelled to outer islands to provide same trainings to youth and women organizations as well as the communities. During my spare times at home, I process noni tea/juice, virgin coconut oils, coconut and papaya jams. I’m also involved with the farmers’ activities as part of my work but also for myself to improve my skills in planting and producing local compost. I have tested the planting techniques in growing vegetables inside the planting pots, containers, plastics bags and tires and it works. My house is surrounded by vegetables growing in tires and pots; I enjoyed looking at the plants knowing that sooner or later, it will be harvesting time.

Career :
1985-1989 – Project Coordinator, Ministry of Social Services
College 1990-1991 – Student Counsellor of the Marshall Islands
1992-1998 – Financial Aid Director, College of the Marshall Islands
2001-2002 – School Administrator, Majuro Atoll Local Government
2002-2009 – Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Resources & Development

Educational Background :
1998-2000 – Master for Public Administration (MPA)
Portland State University
Portland, Oregon
1981-1984 – Bachelor of Art in Community Health
Central Washington University
Ellensburg, Washington

Postal: P.O BOX 733
Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960
Tel: (692) 625-3206/4020
Fax: (692) 625-7471

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Micronesia (Federated States of)National Correspondent for Micronesia (Federated States of) (Mr. Jackson Soram)

Mr. Jackson SoramJackson Soram currently works for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Federated States of Micronesia. He began his diplomatic career in 2002 as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) for the Division of Asia, Pacific, Africa, and Multilaterals Affairs (APAMA). He was later promoted to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information and Research (IR), and then later as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs with responsibility to strengthen relations with European countries and the European Union (EU).

Currently, Mr. Soram heads the sub-division of Multilateral Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multilateral Affairs. In his current post, he oversees multilateral affairs especially those relating to the United Nations and its organizations and agencies.

Prior to joining the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Soram taught at Pohnpei Island Central School (PICS). While there, he was also attached to programs at the College of Micronesia (COM) including the Upward Bound (UB) Program and the Talent Search Program (TSP). Before returning to his home country, Mr. Soram worked in Hawaii at Hawaii Pacific University and also as Assistant Manager for Dollar Financial Group Inc.,

A graduate of the prestigious Jesuit-run Xavier High School in the State of Chuuk, he holds a degree from Hawaii Pacific University in political science. Mr. Soram is originally from the State of Chuuk and now resides in Pohnpei. He is married with 4 children.

Mr. Soram has served as FAO National Correspondent since 2005.

Mail: P.O. Box PS123
Palikir Station
Pohnpei FM, 96941
Telephone: (691) 320-2544
Fax:(691) 320-2933

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NiueNational Correspondent for Niue (Natasha Tohovaka)

Natasha TohovakaFakalofalahiatu from the Rock of Polynesia –Niue Island. Natasha Toeono-Tohovaka was appointed in October 2011 as the FAO National Correspondent for Niue. Natasha is 31 years of age and has been working for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF) since 2003. During this time she has managed and coordinated various projects for the DAFF from departmental to donor funded projects. This includes the GEF –UNDP program Niue Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Projects, FAO Telefood Projects and EU/Italian Govt/SPC program Development for Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific (DSAP) project which ended in 2009.

She is currently the Senior Project Manager for Administration and some of the responsibilities for this position include the coordination of external funded projects, managing personnel and coordinating with Divisional Heads on work programs and activities when needed.

Natasha graduated from the Victoria University of Wellington at the end of 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree. She is married and has three beautiful and very active young boys. Natasha has enjoyed working with people from all sectors to help improve their livelihoods and food security situation. This includes those in Government, Private sector, NGOs, Village Communities, Farmers and most of all the youth. Given the continuous decline in Niue’s population especially migration of young people overseas, Natasha is very supportive in creating opportunities for the young people in the areas of agriculture, forestry & fisheries to help address this problem.

Postal: P.O BOX 46, Alofi, Niue
Tel: (683) 4032
Fax: (683) 4079

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PalauNational Correspondent for Palau (Gustav Ngiracheluolu Aitaro)

Gustav Ngiracheluolu AitaroName : Gustav Ngiracheluolu Aitaro
Date of Birth: October 27, 1966
Occupation: Director, Bureau of International Trade & Technical Assistance (since 2007)
Qualification: B.A. Public Administration

I enjoy my line of work as it provides me the opportunity to interact with colleagues of various agencies and organizations both private and public sectors. However dynamic and diversified their respective objectives and activities maybe, it is reassuring to note that collaboratively they contribute to the sustainable development of Palau’s social and economic structure. It’s just a matter of providing the essential resources that serves as a catalyst that connects all efforts towards sustainable development. It is in this context and my belief that a strong community provides the very foundation for Palau’s economic and social development.

The Bureau of International Trade & Technical Assistance of the Ministry of State of the Republic of Palau is responsible for conducting and coordinating international trade negotiations, research and identify availability of financial grant/aid and technical assistance from foreign governments; and all international and regional organizations of which the Republic of Palau is a member for the benefit of the people of Palau but not limited to providing assistance to national and state governments; and communities in the procurement of financial grant/aid and technical assistance.

Activities of the Bureau of International Trade & Technical Assistance is to serve as a conduit whereby all technical assistance from foreign sources in the sectors of agriculture, education, fisheries, health, environment, culture, economic and social development are facilitated to respective government agencies, state governments and communities. The Bureau is also charged with the facilitating communications between local agencies, governments, communities and organizations with bilateral, multilateral, regional and international organizations on technical assistance, trade and investment and grant/aid.

Thus I am responsible in ensuring that technical assistance and grants from foreign sources are maximized and utilized by national, state and community partners as well as assist in programs, projects of funding sources. Other activities of the Bureau are as follows:

  • Research and obtain relevant quality aid and technical assistance from bilateral partners, international and regional organizations
  • Assist in formulation and submission of requests/proposals for grant/aid and technical assistance and to ensure effective coordination and monitoring of projects implementation to ensure desired results.
  • Maintain effective contact with donors, including bilateral and multilateral ones, through formal correspondence, attendance of conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars, etc. to ensure Palau's national interests are reflected in programs to assist developing countries.
  • Participate in preparation for approval and implementation of PACER Agreement and PICTA in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Forum. Also, participate in trade negotiation between the ACP Group and EU for establishment of free trade arrangement.
  • Promote foreign trade and foreign investment, in collaboration with relevant Palau national agencies, with potential bilateral, multilateral, international and regional partners.
  • Coordinate and monitor the implementation of aid/grants and technical assistance to ensure compliance with donor requirements and the implementation meet the Republic's objectives.

Postal: P.O Box 100, Koror, Plau
Tel: +680 767 3682/2490
Fax: +680 767 3680

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Papua New GuineaNational Correspondent for Papua New Guinea (Brown Konabe)

Brown KonabeName: Brown Konabe

Country: Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Position: Director, Food Security Branch, Department of Agriculture & Livestock (DAL). I was officially appointed as the FAO National Correspondence for PNG on August 2005 and since then my contract have been renewed several times and I am still holding on to the position. My official position with DAL is the Director of Food Security Branch (FSB). The FSB is the core program of DAL and hence is the engine room for DAL technical programs. Being in charge of the FSB, I oversee and coordinate the implementation of PNG National Food Security Program in accordance with the PNG National Food Security Policy 2000-2010. The Food Security Policy covers wide range of areas which includes traditional staple crops production; rice and grain production; Livestock including aquaculture & Apiculture production; irrigation and water management; horticultural fruit trees; vegetable production; FAO Special Program for Food Security; downstream processing; agro-forestry; extension and information; and supply of farm inputs. The PNG National Food Security Policy 2000-2010 is also complimented by the PNG Rice Development Policy 2004-2014. These two policies are now integrated into the agriculture master plan called “National Agriculture Development Plan 2007-2016”, which was endorsed by the PNG Government in 2007. However, the PNG National Food Security Policy 2000-2010 is due for mid-term review, which will be undertaken at the end of this year through a technical assistance provided through the FAO TCP facility. The MTR will provide guidance on the future direction for food security activities in PNG.

Postal: P O Box 2033, Port Moresby, NCD, Papua New Guinea.
Tel: +(675) 3215379/ (675) 3215378
Fax: +(675) 3215347/ (675) 3211387

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Solomon IslandsNational Correspondent for Solomon Islands (Jimi Saelea)

Name : Jimi Saelea
Organization: Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
Position: Under Secretary [Technical]

Graduated with Masters Degree in Biological Science with Second Degree Honours from the University of Auckland New Zealand. Mr. Saelea is the current Under Secretary (Technical) for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and has been in the post since the beginning of 2011. Mr. Saelea has been involved in research for the Ministry of Agriculture for almost 30 years and was nominated as the FAO National Correspondent for Solomon Islands in the beginning of 2011.

In his previous posts as Director of Research Mr. Saelea was involved in FAOs Regional Programme on Food Security.

Postal: P.O Box G13, Honiara, Solomon Islands
Tel: +(677) 28925/ 28116
Fax: +(677) 28365

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TongaNational Correspondent for Tonga (Ms. Luseane Taufa)

Ms. Luseane TaufaMs. Luseane Taufa, Senior Plant Pathologist for the Ministry of Agriculture, food, Forests and Fisheries (MAFFF) in Tonga. Luseane has more than 10 years experience in agricultural research, tissue culture , extension and teaching. Luseane considers that the most enjoyable and rewarding time of her life with MAFFF was in 2007 when she was called to be in charge of the Women Development Unit of MAFFF. This was followed by another change of role in 2008 to be in charge of the Food Section Unit of MAFFF.

The drastic changing of roles from Research to Women Community Development and then to Food Processing and Product development seemed to be a challenge at the time. But it was an opportunity to gain broader experience and to understand the impact of agricultural research and extension on the livelihood of the people in the community. It highlighted the need to ensure that research results are communicated very quickly to growers and the community in a way that encourages them to adopt the new ideas and knowledge.

Outside MAFFF, Luseane likes both teaching and community works. She is a part-time teacher in the Diploma in Agriculture programme. She is teaching Plant Science and Microbiology. With her experience in community works, Luseane is currently coordinating a project funded by Canada which is building in her own community, Tufuenga, a kitchen and centre for income generating activities.

Email: /
Postal: P.O Box 14 Nukualofa, Tonga
Tel: +(676) 37474 (+676) 37474 or (676) 7715721
Fax: +676 24271

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TuvaluNational Correspondent for Tuvalu (Mr. Itaia Lausaveve)

Mr. Itaia LausaveveName : Itaia Lausaveve
Date of Birth: 23rd Nov, 1960
Occupation: Director of Agriculture (since 2006)
Qualification: Diploma in Tropical Agriculture, University of the South Pacific

Career began in the agriculture department as an agricultural trainee in 1979 and 1980. In 1981 won a scholarship to undertake the Diploma in Tropical Agriculture at the University of the South Pacific (USP) at its School of Agriculture at the Alafua Campus in Apia, Samoa that he completed in 1983.

Joined the department of agriculture first as Senior Agricultural Assistant where much of his work was organizing, coordinating and monitoring rural agricultural development programmes of the outer islands through the assistance of agricultural extension agents based on the outer islands.

In 1988, left the department of agriculture on a seconded contract for two years, working as the Agricultural Liasion Officer (ALO) for Tuvalu. The ALO network in the region was developed by the Institute of Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture (IRETA) of the USP School of Agriculture, as its outreach arm to USP member countries to facilitate the dissemination of agricultural information to extension workers and farmers in the region to improve agriculture development.

In 1991 and 1992 undertook advance horticulture studies at the University Queensland in Australia. Between 1993 and 1997 became Senior Agriculture Officer in charge of the Plant Protection and Quarantine and Extension and Information Services at the Agricultural Headquarters on Funafuti. From 1999 to 2002 transferred to the Elisefou Agricultural Station on Vaitupu Island as Officer in charge of the overall operations of the station that consist of the department’s main piggery breeding program, Dwarf coconut hybrid breeding program, root crops program, citrus breeding and the vegetable production unit.

In 2003 was recalled to the headquarters on the capital island of Funafuti to take up new role as Deputy Director of Agriculture over-seeing the administration of the Plant Protection and Quarantine services and Extension and Information section and projects management unit of the department of Agriculture until 2006. From 2007 until todate, became Director of Agriculture with responsibilities in the overall management of the Department of Agriculture and as agricultural policy advisor to the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment of the government of Tuvalu.

Postal: Ministry of Natural Resources and Lands, Funafuti, Tuvalu
Tel: +(688) 20836 Extn 2205
Fax: +(688) 20167

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VanuvatuNational Correspondent for Vanuvatu (Mr. James Wasi)

Mr. James WasiJames Wasi holds the position of Principal Agriculture Officer in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Vanuatu. He is based at the Department Headquarters in Port Vila but works primarily with Provincial Agriculture Officers and rural farming communities throughout the country. He has been National Correspondent for FAO in Vanuatu since May 2009.

Increasing population in Vanuatu puts a lot of pressure on farm land, especially on the smaller islands of the archipelago. James is passionate about promoting the use of agro-forestry farming systems (combination of leguminous trees and crops) to help maintain soil fertility in small holder farming systems. He is hopeful that in future, more farmers in Vanuatu will come to realise the benefits of agro-forestry systems as a means of combating soil fertility decline. James holds Bachelor of Agriculture Degree from the University of Papua New Guinea and a Masters Degree in Agriculture Studies from the University of Queensland.

Postal: Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
PMB 9040, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Tel: (678) 23406
Fax: (678)26498

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