National Training Workshop – Policy Dialogue on Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in Agriculture – Samoa
Biodiversity and Agricultural Production Systems are Inter-twined
Over thousands of years, Samoan culture and traditions became inextricably linked to local ecosystems and the diversity of living species that characterizes the environment of the Samoan archipelago and the surrounding ocean. Traditional agriculture and food production systems are accordingly not only biological systems, they are also social and cultural systems that provide the solid foundation for cultural identity and social cohesiveness.
Over the last 50 years, there has been a significant shift towards the modernization of agriculture in Samoa, as in other Pacific Island societies, driven by population growth and economic objectives, which require farmers to produce more than that needed for subsistence. The ecological footprint of modern farming systems have raised concerns exponentially on the sustainability of agricultural systems. The high level of agro-chemical use for example, have significant costs and adverse effects, both in terms of human health and damage to surrounding ecosystems and the provision of ecosystem services from biodiversity upon which the wellbeing and livelihood of communities rely.
More recently however, a consensus has emerged that the fate of biodiversity and agriculture are inter-twined. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are at the heart of many solutions to sustainable increases in agricultural productivity that deliver not only better outcomes for food and nutrition security but also reduce externalities of production. Solutions can be found in ecosystem-based approaches to agricultural production and management, including pest and soil fertility management, that build on both modern science and traditional knowledge of local communities.
Purpose and objectives
The purpose of the national training workshop is to facilitate the uptake of ecosystem services and biodiversity as key component of healthy agricultural production and management systems in the implementation of Samoa’s NBSAP and other relevant policies.
The overarching objective is to strengthen capacity at the national level to promote ecosystem-based approaches to agriculture and contribute to achieving key Aichi targets and NBSAP 2020 Targets related to agriculture.
The national training workshop will bring together stakeholders from the agricultural sector, environmental sector, health, tourism and water sector, to foster a cross-sectorial dialogue and collaboration to support an ecosystem-based approach to agriculture.
The workshop will build on the practical guidance provided in the FAO guidance document on Mainstreaming ecosystem services and biodiversity in agricultural production and management, to minimize dependency on agrochemicals in the Pacific Islands, due to be released in November 2016. It will highlight key issues and then demonstrate practical case studies from around the Pacific and beyond that could be applied at the national level in consideration and use of biodiversity and ecosystem services in pest and weed management, soil fertility, management of invasive species, organic farming and in eco-tourism.