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New ways to grow organically to be discussed at Fiji conference

Wednesday 7 June 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Environment, National


New ways to grow organically to be discussed at Fiji conference
Organic grower Andy Kirkwood is attending a conference in Fiji. Photo: Supplied.

Executive members of local organics group Natura Kuki Arani (NKA) hope to bring back new lessons about organic growing after attending conferences in Fiji.

The NGO is the focal point for the Cook Islands organics movement, as a member of the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom).

Secretary Missy Vakapora is part of the Building Capacity for a Fair and Inclusive Organic Movement workshop in Nadi, Fiji. The workshop is to identify gender impacts on organic production systems.

Vakapora said that Pacific women have always been active in food production.

“Fieldwork comes after taking care of the home and kids. To do more, we need the right tools for planting, harvesting, and processing,” she said.

Next week, Vakapora will be joined by Avana Vetiver grounds man Andy Kirkwood and other operators of organics certification systems from Fiji, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

"The peer review processes is about growers’ quality assuring and learning from other growers,” Kirkwood said.

“A strong network also provides access to key inputs, seed stock, and service plants."

Kirkwood said each country was encouraged to translate, adapt, and extend the Pacific Organic Standard (POS) to be culturally-relevant.

"Just as with growing in a changing climate, local organic certification can respond to the demands of the local market,” he said. 

“A lot of the topics discussed at the workshops will be about making organics production more efficient. For many people, the labour costs for organic growing are often a barrier to getting started.”

Kirkwood said there needed to be a focus on diversity of organic growing.

“There’s a really strong sense of community in the organics sphere,” he said.

“It encourages you to think outside the box and learn from what other Pacific nations are doing.”

The organics workshops are supported by the EU SAFE Project, EU Protege Project, The Kiwi Initiative, Australian Government through Pacific Women Lead, POETCom's Building Prosperity for Women Producers (BPWP) Project; with support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.


Corey Numa on 07/06/2023

Here is a great concept that works in our town focusing on learning from others.