The inaugural Roundtable China – Pacific Islands Agriculture Ministers meeting co-hosted by Fiji and China has been hailed a success following the adoption of the ‘Nadi Declaration of China and Pacific Island States on Agricultural Development’ in Nadi recently.
Agriculture Ministers from eight Pacific Island countries namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, the Independent State of Samoa, the Kingdom of Tonga, and the Republic of Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China adopted the Declaration to boost agriculture development in the Pacific.
The Declaration was signed after successful deliberations between China and Pacific Island States Agriculture Minister’s on Agriculture Cooperation, aligning with the theme “Seizing the opportunity of jointly contributing to the Belt and Road Initiative, advancing the practical agricultural cooperation between China and Pacific Island States”
Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy said Fiji and Pacific island countries anticipated support from China to boost production and supply, and to open up their markets to assist Pacific suppliers access lucrative Chinese markets after the adoption of the Declaration.
With the Nadi Declaration focusing on Development and Cooperation as the main agenda, China and Pacific Agriculture leaders have mutually agreed to conduct cooperation in personnel exchange and capacity building in agriculture, and facilitate people-to-people exchange at various levels to strengthen cooperation in agricultural technology.
The Declaration also focused on the encouragement and support of agricultural research institutes in enhancing exchanges, building joint laboratories, jointly applying for funds from international organizations and the Chinese Government, and carrying out collaborative research, with a view to serving the agricultural development of China and Pacific island states.
Pacific Agricultural Ministers also agreed to strengthen South-South Cooperation (SSC) with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) where Agricultural experts and technicians would be selected and dispatched to Pacific island states for technology demonstration and training with financial support from the SSC Trust Fund contributed by the Chinese Government.
From 2020 to 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (MARA) will offer agricultural technology training to 120 people from the Pacific island states through two training courses each year. The first training course for agricultural officials is to be launched in late April 2019.
The Second Agriculture Ministers Meeting of China and Pacific Island States will be held in China in 2022.