Boost for organic farming

Tuesday June 14, 2016 Written by Published in Environment
Growers at an organic farming training at the Titikaveka Seventh Day Adventist church. 16060350 Growers at an organic farming training at the Titikaveka Seventh Day Adventist church. 16060350

A COMMITTEE formed to oversee the activities of organic farmers on Rarotonga held its first meeting two weeks ago.

 

Ministry of Agriculture extension officer Brian Tairea said in cooperation with Titikaveka Growers Association (TGA), the ministry had a representative on the commit-tee.

The committee included a number of growers from around the island who were aware of the need to boost organic farming and were keen to help other farmers realise its importance.

“The committee will also decide on protocols, the policies and so forth for farmers who are interested in the farming technique,” Tairea said.

After one week of training with the Secretariat of the Pacific Committee (SPC) team on the trials undertaken for organic farming around the island, growers had seen the practical reality of the need for organic farming and its contribution towards people’s health, he said.

A presentation from the ministry’s Patrick Arioka had encouraged them to start working on proposed draft legislation which would eventually be passed on to parlia-ment.

“The main focus is to try and reduce the amount of imported pesticide. The ministry is working bringing a more environmentally friendly kind of pesticide.

“We also need to try and minimise the amount of fertiliser used in this country and it’s going to be a long process.

He said people have been relying on using a certain pesticide for more than 20 years, but it was now time to reduce its use.

Tairea said organic farmers are allowed to use a wide variety of chemical sprays and powders on their crops but pesticides must be derived from natural sources and not synthetically manufactured.

Another condition was that pesticides must be applied using equipment that had not been used to apply any synthetic materials for at least three years.

Land being planted must not have been treated with synthetic materials for that period either, Tairea added.            

 

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