Growing agricultural trade between Australia and the Pacific

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and DT Global will grow agricultural trade between Pacific Island countries and Australia, through improved food security, better market access and biosecurity outcomes.

Signed 6 October by Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Gabrielle Vivian-Smith and DT Global Asia Pacific Managing Director, Frank Maiolo the MoU will strengthen the partnership between the department and DT Global through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA Plus) program.

The PHAMA Plus program is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said the partnership focuses on growing agricultural trade between Pacific Island countries and Australia.

“Through this partnership, Pacific Island producers will improve the quality of their produce and find markets for their goods. The department will work closely with PHAMA Plus to help these countries manage biosecurity risks, to increase agricultural trade and help to secure the livelihoods of families across the Pacific,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.

DT Global will help Pacific Island exporters to comply with Australian biosecurity requirements; strengthen the capacity of biosecurity authorities through training and knowledge-sharing; and support biosecurity processes, including surveillance and emergency preparedness.

PHAMA Plus Team Leader, Andrew Piper said the pandemic has created additional urgency to support economic recovery, particularly in the Pacific Island agriculture and horticulture sectors. 

“This MOU will strengthen our existing collaboration with DAWE and provide our partner biosecurity authorities and exporters with access to the full spectrum of technical support that helps us to achieve our ultimate goal of supporting rural household income in the Pacific,” Mr Piper said.

The partnership will focus on countries in which PHAMA Plus operates: Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga, as well as other countries under Australia’s Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) commitment (currently Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Kiribati and Niue).

“We are dedicated to working with our Pacific neighbours to strengthen their biosecurity systems, including surveillance, diagnostics and emergency response,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.

“Agriculture is central to Pacific countries and this collaboration benefits our entire region. We look forward to working together on this and other initiatives like the Pacific Biosecurity Partnerships Program.”

SOURCE: Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment

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