Agriculture is central to the livelihoods of many South Pacific people. Historically, the region has been economically disadvantaged, with limited development opportunities. With challenges such as climate change, population growth and an increasingly competitive international trade environment, it is imperative that development opportunities are improved and the region becomes economically secure.
The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program is an Australian Government initiative, co-funded by the New Zealand Government. It is designed to help Pacific island countries better manage and utilise opportunities to export primary products including fish and forestry products. Australia and New Zealand are markets of major importance, along with export markets beyond the Pacific. The core countries assisted through PHAMA are Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
AECOM manages the Program on behalf of the Australian Government, overseeing activities such as:
- Technical studies to assist stakeholders to better understand market access related issues;
- Facilitating industry coordination around export development;
- Promoting public-private partnerships to address identified issues;
- Facilitating development of prioritised planning for export industries;
- Developing systems and procedures to improve compliance and quality in export pathways;
- Building capacity of public and private sectors to gain, maintain and improve international market access and terms of trade.
PHAMA is opening and protecting market opportunities and increasing exports of primary products for producers from Pacific island countries. This is in turn contributing to increased economic growth and improved rural livelihoods in these predominantly agricultural and resource-based small country economies.