With the objective of strengthening private sector aquaculture enterprises, a Special Service Agreement has been signed this month between the Pacific Community (SPC) and Aquaculture Without Frontiers (AwF).

Under this agreement, AwF will provide business mentoring assistance to selected enterprises to help them overcome business and technical constraints in their operations. This will include supporting women-led businesses.

“Aquaculture is more successful when run as a business or set on a business-like footing. Through their collaboration, SPC and AwF will focus on increasing business acumen among local private sector operators,” said Robert Jimmy, the SPC Aquaculture Adviser. “The Pacific needs to improve food and nutrition security, and aquaculture is paramount to the expansion of the food production sector.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the aquaculture sector increasingly important to food security in the Pacific. Through collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders such as implementing countries, private sector partners and non-profit organizations such as AwF, SPC aims to contribute to aquaculture being more productive and economically sustainable, underpinned by responsible practices to ensure that the environment is protected from biosecurity threats.

Katherine Hawes, Chair, AwF (Australia) Ltd said, “We are delighted that AwF has signed a Special Service Agreement with SPC.  During these difficult times, our volunteers (business and technical advisors and mentors) will be aiming to add value and innovation to assist specific needs of PacAqua Enterprises and Cluster Farmers in Pacific Island Countries and Territories.”

“Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a long association, that will be of special benefit for aquaculture in the Pacific region. We sincerely thank the management NZMFAT’s Pacific Aquaculture Development Project for enabling this opportunity. We look forward to contributing to the development of important business, food security and nutritional prospects in the region.” 

This agreement falls under SPC’s Sustainable Pacific Aquaculture Development Project (PacAqua), funded by the New Zealand’s Ministry of foreign Affairs and Trade (NZMFAT).

The PacAqua project currently supports 15 enterprises, including 14 private sector enterprises and one farmers’ association spread across eight countries (Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Federated Stages of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Tonga) and two territories (French Polynesia and New Caledonia). The project also supports six farmer clusters in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

PacAqua is also supporting the uptake of improved aquaculture practices by strengthening government and farmer capacity in seed, feed and broodstock management.

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