On September 3, 2020, Governor Oliver, Director of the Department of Resources and Development, Mr. Hubert Yamada, and Chief of Agriculture, Mr. Mark Kostka met with officials from Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, on a Zoom virtual conference call. The purpose of the call was to follow up on the virtual launch of the Israel-Pacific Food Alliance that took place virtually on July 2, 2020, in which Governor Oliver as Honorary Consul for the State of Israel in FSM, Pohnpei State Department of Resources and Development’s Director, Mr. Hubert Yamada, and Chief of Agriculture, Mr. Mark Kostka, attended.
In this follow up meeting, Agricultural experts, Danny Zonshine and Oded Halamit, from MASHAV spoke with Chief of Agriculture, Mr. Mark Kostka, and Director Yamada to better understand Agriculture and Food conditions in Pohnpei. Chief of Agriculture, Mr. Mark Kostka, advised the Israelis that most farming is subsistence farming and agroforestry, not for cash sales. Another condition is the high amount of rain, which can damage vegetable crops. Director Yamada reiterated Chief Kostka’s advice on farming in Pohnpei. He noted that consistency of supply is a challenge, as much of the food supply is imported. He said farming behavior, from subsistence to commercial farming, will help with increased production and was thankful for Israel’s expertise in these areas.
Mr. Zonshine and Mr. Halamit stated MASHAV wants to assist by transferring proven agricultural technologies focusing on vegetable farming that can yield quicker results than bigger staple crops like wheat or rice. The idea is to develop and co-produce the same crop and plants in Pohnpei and Israel, providing online/virtual guidance with the Division of Agriculture and even the COM-FSM Land Grant program.
At the conclusion of the meeting, H.E. Tibor Shalev-Schlosser, Israeli Ambassador to the FSM and Pacific Island States thanked Governor Oliver, for the continued cooperation and support of this food security alliance, and encouraged the other states to participate in this food alliance.
FSM Department of Resources and Development (R&D) is the focal point for the Israel-Pacific Food Alliance in the country. Pohnpei State Director of the Department of Resources and Development, Hubert Yamada, coordinates all engagements with MASHAV through FSM R&D.
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