The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DT Global to increase agricultural trade between Pacific Island Countries and Australia by promoting food security, improved market access, and biosecurity. The MoU builds upon the longstanding partnership between the Department and Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access program (PHAMA Plus), implemented by DT Global. Senior representatives from DAWE, DFAT, Pacific Island Countries, and DT Global were present at the signing.
“The signing of this MoU is an important moment in our relationship with the Department for Agriculture, Water and the Environment,” says Frank Maiolo, Managing Director for DT Global Asia Pacific. “It gives real momentum for our future collaboration, drawing on our joint expertise and our collective ability to deliver effective localised and sustainable solutions to support economic growth and improve rural household incomes across the Pacific.”
PHAMA Plus is an Australian Government initiative, co-funded by the New Zealand Government. The new MoU supports biosecurity and trade work in six PHAMA Plus countries—Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Tonga—as well as countries under Australia’s Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus)—Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Niue.
PHAMA Plus works to improve economic growth and rural livelihoods in Pacific Island Countries. By facilitating supply and demand side change, PHAMA Plus works through market systems stakeholders (e.g., private sector, government, and non-profits) to facilitate innovation and change in the business environment and market systems. The program supports Pacific Island countries in increasing the quantity and quality of their agricultural, horticultural, and cultural exports in ways that benefit producers, exporters, and importers, with a special emphasis on women’s economic empowerment.
Climate change, tourism, and trade all increase the risk of invasive species and disease—factors that put food security and agricultural trade relationships in the Pacific Island Countries at risk. Biosecurity—the procedures designed to protect humans and animals from invasive species—is an essential component of protecting food security and trade, and of growing a sustainable and stable economic future for the region.
“My department and DT Global will work closely with the Pacific Island nations to support growers in managing pests and also help to ensure these pests don’t get the chance to pose a threat to Australian farmers,” said the Hon. David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia Deputy Leader of the Nationals. “...DT Global will help Pacific Island producers to improve the quality of their produce and find markets for their goods. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will work closely with PHAMA Plus to help these countries increase agricultural trade and secure the livelihoods of families across the Pacific.”
The MoU sets out commitments and responsibilities for DAWE and PHAMA Plus that will help to strengthen biosecurity authorities and processes and takes steps towards supporting Pacific Island exporters in meeting Australian biosecurity requirements. Says PHAMA Plus Team Leader Andrew Piper, “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.”