Work has begun on strengthening local market monitoring capacities in Fiji and Samoa following the successful completion of the project’s Inception Workshop.
The workshop was set up to meet with stakeholders in government departments and agencies, NGO’s and CSOs to collect information and data on markets in the two Pacific Island countries to carry out critical market assessments with a report at the end of the project.
The project comes as a result of the partnership between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and The University of the South Pacific (USP) to strengthen local market monitoring capacities in Fiji and Samoa.
WFP Country Director Alpha Bah said identifying, collecting, and analysing market information, the joint project would help government agencies in both countries to make informed policies when implementing disaster response activities, particularly those aimed at safeguarding household food security.
“The partnership with The University of the South Pacific is a critical component of WFP’s research, assessment and monitoring programmes in the Pacific for a region that is extremely susceptible to climate shocks and natural disasters, monitoring the impacts of these calamities is critical,” he added.
USP Senior Lecturer (Climate Change Food Security Disaster Risk Management) Dr Viliamu Iese said the research would also help determine the minimum expenditure basket for food and non-food items of households in Fiji and Samoa.
Dr Iese added the collaboration with WFP was crucial to understanding 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 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.
“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.
A similar two-day Inception workshop will be held in Samoa to kick start the critical market assessments