April 8, 2013

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

March 27, 2013 Pohnpei, FSM -The proposed Pohnpei State Strategic Development Plan (SDP) is in committee at the Pohnpei State Legislature. The 290 page plan lays out strategic goals for Pohnpei State on a sector by sector basis.

This "first in a series" of articles focuses on Pohnpei's Agricultural Sector, but first the organization of the SDP requires some explanation.

The matrix layout of the document organizes a huge amount of information into an easy to understand document. The plan drills down from a broad mission statement for each sector, through specific strategic goals right through to specific measurable outputs.

If the Legislature adopts the plan, the measurable outputs could be used to establish a working plan to achieve them.

As an example, the Mission Statement of the Agriculture sector is:

"To provide food security, facilitate sustainable agricultural development by promoting best practices, promote cultural uses of food, and improve nutrition and health as supported by a well resourced state agriculture office and a stable, consistent policy framework."

The Mission Statement is a broad statement filled with catch phrases that on its own might not generate any specific results. The mission statement can be used to determine whether or not planned actions are in line with the mission of the agriculture sector.

In the SDP each sector also lists a number of strategic goals based on the mission statement. They are a little more specific though still not specific enough. For example, the first Strategic Goal of the agriculture sector is:

"To develop a sustainable local agriculture system."

Each of the strategic goals is supported by a rationale. The strategic goals and their rationales for the Agriculture Sector will be listed below.

The matrix for each sector also lists a series of broad operational goals-"outcomes", under each Strategic Goal. For the environment sector the first outcome under strategic goal #1 is:

"To increase production of locally produced foods and other agriculture-based commercial products."

The output is specific to the first goal though again, not quite specific enough to develop an implementation plan.

In the matrix for the Agriculture Sector under the first outcome listed above are five actions or projects-"Activities" to help achieve the proposed outcome. For example, one of the five activities the Agriculture sector hopes to pursue in order to achieve its first outcome is to:

"Increase the number of hectares in agricultural production for subsistence and commercial purposes."

This "Activity" is much more specific to the Agriculture Sector's Mission Statement but the SDP takes the matter one step further and breaks that "Activity" down into three

"Outputs", which are measurable objectives for each activity. One of the listed outputs for the activity listed above is:

"To place 50% of road easement in agricultural production by adjacent landowners by 2015."

The Pohnpei SDP is not an implementation plan but it seems to be just one step away from it.

The SDP lists 101 "outputs" for 68 "Activities" to achieve 20 "outcomes" for four Strategic Goals under the Agriculture Sector's Mission Statement alone. For Pohnpei citizens to be fully informed about the content of the SDP they would need a difficult to obtain copy of the plan. So far we have been unable to find a copy anywhere online though the PDF version of the SDP is only 2.43 megabytes.

The Agriculture Sector's Mission Statement, sector rationale, strategic goals, and rationales are below:


MISSION STATEMENT To provide food security, facilitate sustainable agricultural development by promoting best practices, promote cultural uses of foods, and improve nutrition and health as supported by a well resourced state agriculture office and a stable, consistent policy framework.

Sector Rationale: Organizing and enhancing existing local agriculture as a key sector in the Pohnpeian economic system through coordinated research, education, implementation, and public awareness will enable citizens to develop a more secure food system and derive maximum benefit from Pohnpeian agricultural resources. Systemic benefits (e.g., expanded economy, improved health, healthy environment, and cultural maintenance) will result from the integrated application of traditional techniques, innovative methods, and best practices for agricultural management. A deliberately developed and linked agricultural value chain can enhance multiple benefits to the people of Pohnpei as well as actively support the tourism industry.

STRATEGIC GOAL 1: To develop a sustainable local agriculture system.

Rationale: Limited agricultural resources coupled with a fragile natural environment require thoughtful solutions to enhancing local subsistence and commercial agriculture by integrating traditional and sciencebased agricultural practices. Increasing production, improving quality, and stabilizing availability of crop and livestock will provide a solid foundation for agriculture value chain management, protection of the environment, and increased economic benefits.

STRATEGIC GOAL 2: To develop local product-based agro-business.

Rationale: New commercial opportunities connected to local, tourism, and global markets will enable citizens to expand local agricultural production. Agricultural economic viability will require a focus on creatively developing the commercial agriculture value chain.

STRATEGIC GOAL 3: To improve public understanding of the values and benefits of agriculture and associated business opportunities.

Rationale: Pohnpeians have the potential to benefit from diverse business and economic opportunities associated with local agriculture, agricultural products, and agriculture-based tourism experiences. Additionally, expanded diversity, availability, and use of local foods can improve the long-term health of Pohnpeians by replacing the current diet composed primarily of highly processed, imported foods that contribute to high incidents of NCDs. Currently, the diversity, availability, and use of local foods is limited due in part to Pohnpeian consumers' financial constraints. Additional issues include convenience of and current preferences for "convenience and processed foods," combined with limited knowledge of the economic and health benefits associated with eating locally grown and unprocessed foods.

STRATEGIC GOAL 4: To use integrated research, extension, and educational opportunities to promote sustainable agricultural production technologies and practices.

Rationale: Pohnpeian agriculture, both subsistence and commercial, has decreased over time, resulting in loss of traditional agricultural knowledge, decrease in total agricultural production, an increase in NCDs, and loss of the cultural significance of food production and consumption. An integrated program of local agriculture research, extension, and education is needed to identify agricultural production methods best suited to Pohnpei, New knowledge gained through agricultural research that is integrated with traditional techniques, innovative methods, and best practices can be extended to (shared with) subsistence and commercial farmers to improve the quality, quantity, and sustainability of their agricultural production.

The matrix for the Agiculture Sector spans 14 pages and is impossible to duplicate here.