Thanks to the Pohnpei State Agriculture Strategic Action Plan (2011-2015) launched last November, agriculture development activities in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will be more effective and streamlined.

The Strategic Action Plan is an activity identified in the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)-FSM Joint Country Strategy.

On hand to officially launch the Strategic Action Plan at the State Government Office was Lt Governor Churchill Edward, who gratefully acknowledged SPC for the technical assistance, which allowed the development of this very important document.

The launch of the Strategic Action Plan for Pohnpei State is a momentous occasion in the history of agriculture in FSM, said the Lt Governor.

In keeping with a key land resources strategy of participatory consultations, wide consultations were held with all stakeholders and partners to finalise the document. The nature of the consultative process allowed stakeholders to have input in the development of the document, encouraging them to take ownership of the plan. This was clearly pointed out by the Administrator for the Pohnpei State, Mr Valerio Halens.

Mr Halens said that having monitoring and evaluation embedded in the document allowed changes to be accommodated given the dynamic nature of agriculture in small, vulnerable island communities.

Thus the plan becomes the platform for donors and international partners to pool resources to achieve the defined outputs within the plan's timeframe, said Mr Halens. Partnerships with donors, non-governmental organisations and development partners become crucial in the achievement of goals in the Strategic Action Plan.

Mr Amena Yauvoli, Manager of SPC's North Pacific Regional Office, said agriculture is the backbone of the Pohnpei economy and plays a large role in the socio-cultural activities of the island's people. The Agriculture Strategic Action Plan is forward-looking and output-oriented, and it moves away from the ad-hoc activities of the past. He pointed out that the action plan is very much people-centered, allowing greater buy-in from the communities of Pohnpei State. Yauvoli thanked his SPC colleagues in particular Ms. Mereseini Seniloli for coordinating the development of the action plan with Pohnpei State and FSM counterparts. The FSM Chief of Agriculture, Mr Adelino Lorens, said the consultative approach used to develop the action plan ensured that it was closely linked to the FSM Strategic Development Plan 2023 and the Pohnpei Farmers Association Action Plan to provide sustainability and complementarity of activities.

This is a significant achievement considering the action plan is a first for Pohnpei State. Presently, other FSM States are requesting for similar technical assistance from LRD, which undoubtedly will make the LRD Team in the SPC North Pacific Regional Office ever busy.