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Natura Kuki Airani chair attending regional workshop

Tuesday 5 July 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National

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Natura Kuki Airani chair attending regional workshop
Natura Kuki Airani chair Io Vakapora. SUPPLIED/22070408

This week, Natura Kuki Airani chair Io Vakapora is attending the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) Regional Workshop in Nadi, Fiji.

Natura Kuki Airani (NKA) is the focal point for organics in the Cook Islands and Vakapora was appointed to the POETCom board in 2021.

In a statement, Vakapora said: “Am I a diplomat? No, I’m a grower. But the way I see it, PoetCom need growers. And to grow, we need equipment. Not more tractors. Chippers, mulchers, ways to improve soil health using natural inputs. Other than that, I’ll be taking an intrepid kava tour or heading to the local grower’s bar.”

NKA has previously identified labour-saving equipment as critical to up-scaling organic production. An aging agricultural sector along with outward migration as a result of Covid-19 has also led to increasing labour shortage.

“No-till methods keep the soil happy. Using a post-hole digger to plant dry-land taro gets the job done faster, keeps the grower happy,” Vakapora said.

Site visits planned as part of the POETCom workshop include the Pacific Organic Learning Farms on Taveuni Island – part of a four-year model funded through the Kiwa initiative.

Organic and agroforestry farm sites are to be established in Fiji, Nauru, Tonga, and the Solomon Islands and supported by the Pacific French territories as part of the EU PROTEGE project, the statement saif.

Updates and links to register for talanoa – online workshop sessions – will be posted to the NKA Facebook Page.

“Organics is better for our land and better for our people,” Vakapora said.