By Pacific Island Times News Staff
With the growth of organic farming in the Pacific islands, regional organizations saw the need to pave the way for island farmers to access the global market and worldwide network.
This was the goal of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) new platform that will give voice and participation to Pacific farmers in the worldwide organic movement.
The initiative is under SPC's Land Resources Division (LRD) Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom).
In 2009, the Food and Agriculture Office explored the potential of organic agriculture and fair trade in Pacific island countries, with a specific focus on cacao, coffee, pepper, vanilla and virgin coconut oil. FAO studied the five main commodities in Cook Islands, Fiji, . Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
SPC announced the launch of the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmer Organizations (INOFO) Oceania Pasifika during the virtual INOFO general assembly, providing organic farmer organizations from the Pacific countries, New Zealand and Australia a common voice and platform. INOFO held the second of its two-meeting assembly on Oct. 25.
The INOFO general assembly was held in conjunction with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) General Assembly and the Organic World Congress, an event that mobilizes organic farmers, producers, researchers, advocates and policy experts from around the world.
“IFOAM international truly appreciates the dedication and leadership that has led to the creation of INOFO Oceania Pasifika," said Karen Mapusua, director of LRD and newly elected president of IFOAM Organics International. "I am confident this new platform will ensure Pacific farmers’ voices are heard and their issues are prioritized as it is integrated further into global organics action and growth.”
INOFO Oceania Pasifika plans to convene registered and interested organic farm organizations on a quarterly basis to develop a common voice that addresses their needs. The platform and its services will be based on regional adaptation of farmer advocacy, networking and knowledge sharing.
The new INOFO extension will provide a number of additional benefits that come with joining an international farmer organization, including being part of an international community driving the organic narrative, support for organic farmer issues as part of a constituency, rather than a lone voice, connection with other organic farmers in their own region and language, and access to online forums, trainings, webinars and conferences.
Stephen Hazelman, LRD Organic Extension Systems officer working with POETCom was elected during the INOFO meeting to its Board of Continents, representing the Pacific. “I am honored to represent our region for the sake of growing our organic movement,” Hazelman said.