Big boost for Samoan Agriculture and Fisheries

Local producers and tens of thousands of Samoan families will benefit from improved management and productivity in Samoa’s agriculture and fisheries sectors through a US$20 million grant approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.

The Samoa Agriculture & Fisheries Productivity and Marketing Project will strengthen the management, productivity and climate resilience of Samoa’s agricultural and fisheries sectors and support Samoan farmers and fishers to improve links with agro-processors and traders. A key part of the project is the rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure, including nurseries, crop drying facilities and cold storage at fish markets; all to be built or rehabilitated to disaster-resilient standards.

A matching grants program will also be implemented to support 700 subsistence and semi-commercial farmers, together with 20 producers’ organizations, as well as micro- and small enterprises, to increase productivity and access to markets. Additionally, the project will strengthen the management of Samoa’s shared oceanic and coastal fisheries by improving surveillance, increasing national engagement in formal fisheries negotiations and growing Samoa’s capacity to export fish and fish products.

“Delivering sustainable, consistent benefits from our agriculture and fisheries sectors is critical to the economic prosperity of Samoa,” said Hon. Lopao'o Natanielu Mua, Samoa’s Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. “Guided by our Agriculture Sector Plan, we look forward to working with the World Bank to achieve our goal of increased food, improved nutrition and more secure incomes for Samoans.”

“Our work in the Pacific has demonstrated that investments in public infrastructure and access to finance for smallholder farmers can transform the agricultural and fisheries sectors in a country like Samoa”, said Michel Kerf, Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “We are proud to be working with the Government of Samoa to create a more commercially-oriented sector, which will support Samoan farming and fishing households gain greater access to market and increase the availability of locally produced food.”

While 97 percent of Samoa’s 30,000 households grow crops or raise livestock, Samoan agriculture and fisheries are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Like many Pacific countries, Samoa also faces economic challenges related to its small size and remoteness. Samoa’s economic growth is also constrained by high prevalence of non-communicable diseases including diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

With these challenges in mind, the project includes training and support for the government to integrate climate adaptation measures into agriculture, fisheries and food security policies and planning, and support women’s participation in these sectors by offering at least 30 percent of matching grants to female farmers and fishers; with evidence showing that an increase in women’s income generating opportunities often leads to improved nutrition at home. The project will also incorporate measures to promote healthy eating in Samoa, including through vegetable gardens in primary schools throughout Samoa.

The $20m grant comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the most in-need countries, with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) contributing an additional $3.6 million to the project, which will be implemented by Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.