"The linkage between agriculture and tourism is important": Renato Mele

The first ever Pacific Community Agri-tourism Week was officially opened by the Head of operations of the European Union for the Pacific, Renato Mele on Monday at Sofitel, Denarau island, Nadi, Fiji.

In his opening address, Mele emphasized the important linkage between agriculture and tourism.

“The two productive sectors agriculture and tourism seem to offer the best opportunities for inclusive economic growth in the region and therefore the promotion of the linkages between the two can contribute to creating improved economic opportunities, build resilience in rural communities and enhance sustainable development in both sectors”, Renato Mele said.

He said the EU is glad to be part of the “Pacific Community Agri-tourism Week” which will analyse the drivers of success of some business models and identify further opportunities for linking small scale farmers to the tourism industry and increase market linkages.

He also mentioned the important role played by the private sector as the engine of economic growth by generating decent jobs, contributing to public revenue and providing goods and services.

And also that the European Commission has been working closely with governments in the Pacific region to develop and implement policies in support of the private sector.

For the last decade, the support by the European Commission for private sector development has averaged Euro 350 million per year.

The Pacific Community Agritourism Week is expected to bring together around 211 participants from around the Pacific region.

At least 25 farmers representing National Farmer Groups from the Pacific, 26 chefs from around the region including students from the Fiji National University will join the Agri-business Forum that will take place from 1-3 July. 

The event will be attended by senior officials from the tourism industry and farmers from 12 Pacific island countries such as Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Palau, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue. Tuvalu.

The Intra-ACP program under the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA) has also made it possible to bring over to this event, key speakers from the Caribbean region such as Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Guyana, the Dominican Republic as well as from the Seychelles islands in the Indian ocean to share their experiences with the Pacific farmers and hoteliers in terms of agribusiness and exports and vice-versa.