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WFP and The University of the South Pacific join forces to boost market monitoring capacities for food security

SUVA, Fiji: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and The University of the South Pacific (USP) have joined forces to strengthen local market monitoring capacities in Fiji and Samoa.

For a region that is extremely susceptible to climate shocks and natural disasters, monitoring the impacts of these calamities is critical. By identifying, collecting, and analysing market information, the joint project will help government agencies in both countries to make informed policies when implementing disaster response activities, particularly those aimed at safeguarding household food security.

Ms Taimalietane Matatumua, Assistant CEO, Policy, Planning & Communication Division of Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture said, “The Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) is blessed to be part of this joint initiative between WFP and USP. We foresee the tremendous value in this project as it will strengthen the capacity of our newly established Agriculture Statistics Unit within MAF, and ensure that the outcomes of the research, assessment and monitoring system will enable data-driven policies and decision-making on food security in Samoa.”

Dr Viliamu Iese, Senior Lecturer (Climate Change, Food Security, Disaster Risk Management) at USP added, “The collaboration with WFP is crucial to understand the availability, prices, and diversity of foods in markets including central, roadside markets and supermarkets in Fiji and Samoa, throughout the cycle of disasters and different economic, health, and geological shocks. The research will also help to determine the minimum expenditure basket for food and non-food items of households in Fiji and Samoa.”

The Pacific-led project will localise research and contextualise tools for application when collecting market information. Understanding when, where and how households are economically accessing food before and after disasters is essential for the development of response policies to improve the food and nutritional security of the most vulnerable households.

“The partnership with The University of the South Pacific is a critical component of WFP’s research, assessment and monitoring programmes in the Pacific. As disasters get more frequent and intense due to climate change, providing the right support at the right time is crucial, especially to the most vulnerable populations,” said Carlos Veloso, Country Director a.i of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office.

“Through this project, we want to give a voice to the beneficiaries of national social protection schemes and make sure that the data we collect reflects their needs as accurately as possible. By doing so, the partnership helps enhance data-driven decision-making for the Governments of Samoa and Fiji,” he added.

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About The University of the South Pacific

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the premier institution of higher learning for the Pacific, uniquely placed in a region of extraordinary physical, social and economic diversity and challenges to serve the region’s need for high-quality tertiary education, research and policy.  Apart from being a tertiary institution, it also serves as an organisation of regional cooperation and integration. We are jointly owned and governed by twelve (12) Member Countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The University has campuses in all Member Countries, with Fiji having three (3) Campuses. Despite its multi-campus nature, USP is a single university with several branches across the Pacific Region. It is a renowned international centre for teaching and research on Pacific culture and environment. USP graduates gain knowledge and appreciation of the unity and diversity of Pacific Island cultures; understanding of the diverse economies and environments of the Pacific Islands; and commitment to the maintenance and strengthening of the societies of the Pacific.

Follow us on Twitter @UniSouthPacific

About WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPAsiaPacific @wfp_media

Contact

Natasha Begum
The University of the South Pacific
 natasha.begum@usp.ac.fj +679 3231477

Maria Shumusti
WFP Pacific Multi-Country Office
maria.shumusti@wfp.org + 679 7208806