Two major on-line information systems to help increase Pacific agricultural productivity were launched in Nadi, Fiji, last night at the conclusion of the Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services (PIRAS) network forum and also coinciding with the Steering Committee of the EU-funded intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme (APP). The Agricultural Policy Bank and the Pacific Agricultural Information System (PAIS), are set to make a major contribution towards the collection and use of data in the Agriculture sector.

The two new on-line portals were launched by the European Union Delegation for the Pacific’s Head of Cooperation, Mr Christoph Wagner, with APP representatives from 15 Pacific ACP countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu).  Development of the tools was funded by the European Union through the Pacific Community’s Intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Wagner said, “The EU is very proud to support the work of the Pacific agriculture policy project, and particularly in launching these two important pieces of regional agricultural communication infrastructure. It will be a chance for all stakeholders to remain updated and benefit from direct access to policy and research of the region.”

The regional Agriculture Policy Bank (http://pafpnet.spc.int/policy-bank), contains more than 160 policies, plans, guidelines and relevant reports from 15 Pacific Island countries and territories, enabling ready access to these national guiding documents.  The collation of the various government policies and plans relating to the national agriculture Ministries will enable the community of agricultural practitioners in the Pacific (including donor organisations, NGOs, consultants and governments themselves) to refer to policy documents easily, thereby facilitating the co-ordination of priorities and projects early and efficiently.  Making existing policies accessible was a key step in helping countries better engage and formulate their policies.

The second major achievement launched was the Pacific Agricultural Information System (PAΪS), an on-line database of scientific research, training materials and other information to enable rural advisory services to draw upon the wealth of knowledge and information that has been built up through decades of work. To date over 38,000 digital records have been uploaded into PAΪS from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and SPC. The system, which builds upon existing national systems, has both an on-line and off-line version and will continue to be supported with resourcing from these four countries plus Land Resources Division of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The support for the development of the Pacific Agricultural Information System (PAΪS), provides a major piece of knowledge management infrastructure for agricultural researchers and extension officers operating in the Pacific, and is symbolic of the sense of cooperation that is occurring within the Pacific Community.

The Pacific Agriculture Policy Bank is available online.

The Pacific Agriculture Information System is in the final stages of being transferred from its current off-line structure to a fully searchable online database.

Media contacts:
Mr David Dore – Research and Information Analyst, Intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme, Land Resources Division, Pacific Community – [email protected]; (679) 809 0845
Mr Vili Caniogo – Adviser / Team Leader, Intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme, Land Resources Division, Pacific Community –  [email protected]; (679) 992 4318