Have you ever heard of Agri-Tourism in your own country? Yes that’s right, its agriculture and tourism put together. But a lot of the people in the Pacific have no clue; it’s a fairly new alias with a tricky meaning. Despite this pseudonym excitement has been building up in the days running to Pacific Community AgriTourism week. This is the first ever, and this excitement lingers in the air as it opens at the Sofitel hotel in Nadi today.
Three points to take from the farmers’ workshop
The excitement is that AgriTourism could become the next biggest hash-tag on our streets. It is the next best thing for people in the tourism businesses. It is inspiring journalists and social media teams to run to tradeshows and exhibitions to tweet the Chefs’ latest introduction of local food taste buds.
But part of the game will have to be watched in the food courts of farmers of the Pacific Islands. The farmers and their food distributors will have to show what they can supply and how best they will produce to replace the 60% – 80% overseas imports of similar farm products that show up in the hospitality menus. Three things that would stand out though from this Pacific AgriTourism Week are quality, consistency of supply, and competitive price.
Farmers and chefs collaborating
In the making, this Pacific AgriTourism meet is taking the Chefs to farmers’ gardens and farms, and in return the farmers to the Chefs prep rooms. So, there is a sense of real equal partnership and a real time knowledge sharing to growing this sector. Pacific AgriTourism means business, and a lot of it. It is believed by the event organisers and sponsors as the next local economies multiple-bonuses for Pacific Islands, elevating the job market for the informal sector and youth, lessening the “leakages” of tourism income by cutting down on food imports. Thus fostering a sustainable growth and increase of local food knowledge and for the long term, food resilience in the Pacific.
Who is behind the AgriTourism Week?
Apart from many other stakeholders like SPC, CTA, PAPP and PIPSO, the European Union (EU) is a major financial donor to this AgriTourism week and the overarching objective they want to see in this Farmers-meet-Chefs is “…an innovative way to reduce poverty through linking smallholder agriculture to the tourism industry”, a goal shared by its development partners.
I am reporting as part of the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week Social Reporting Team that gathered in Nadi over the weekend in preparation to catch the action live of the first ever Pacific AgriTourism trade show where farmers and chefs meets to show what each have to make a dream come true: to put Pacific Island food on visitors’ menu.
Blogpost by Lopez Marac Adams, Social Reporter for the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week 2015.