21 May 2009

United Nations FAO meeting begins in Niue

10:47 am on 21 May 2009

Drafting a regional programme for food security in the Pacific is one of the priorities up for discussion at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's meeting in Niue.

The two-day biennial meeting of agriculture ministers from 14 South West Pacific countries, which gets underway today will also assess the organisation's work over the past two years in the region and identify national and regional agriculture and fisheries priorities for the next two years.

The FAO's subregional Pacific representative, Dr Vili Fuavao, says that the organisation's work is very much driven by the priorities of countries.

"What we've been asked to support is the production side of agriculture but also the livestock sector. This was driven home by the soaring food prices that certainly hit the Pacific, and the idea was with the intervention in the agriculture sector in the rural area, perhaps people may be able to grow their own food and also it will help to subsidise their income by selling to the market."

The theme, "Earning a living from Agriculture", is to encourage Pacific people to shift the focus back to their environment and sustainable livelihoods.

It's hoped a communiqué will be adopted by member states by the end of the week.