Fiji Time: 6:28 PM on Friday 23 February

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Need for stakeholder approach

Filipe Naigulevu
Thursday, June 29, 2017

A STAKEHOLDER approach is needed to further develop Fiji's organic market, with more consultations and policies in place to strengthen this niche market.

This was the basis of discussions between local organic farmers, producers and stakeholders at a meeting at the Ranadi Plantation in Deuba, Pacific Harbour yesterday.

Facilitated by the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) of the Pacific Community (SPC), the meeting addressed issues, challenges and potential ways in which organic farming can be strengthened in Fiji.

This included areas such as availability of land for organic farming, various organic-certification processes and various ways to implement organic farming into the school curriculum.

POETCom acting co-ordinator Stephen Hazelman said the meeting was aimed at discussing national structures that Fiji would need to have in order to continue the promotion of organic farming.

"During the meeting, we heard today from the government ministries, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Industry and Trade who has been a big promoter of organics," he said.

The meeting also featured representatives from the iTaukei Lands Trust Board, Fiji Development Bank and the Fiji National University which was an avenue for organic stakeholders to address issues of mutual interest.

"We are very happy in the Pacific that Fiji is the one that is really pushing organics and the benefits of this is in line with the adaptation and mitigation of climate change," Mr Hazelman said.

Plans to develop a Fiji National Organic Certification Committee were also discussed at the meet.

This proposed committee will be the peak body reviewing applications for organic certification using a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), which is a peer-based review method of organic certification for small clustered farming groups.

The PGS is the second alternative and complementary tool for organic certification to third-party certification within the organic sector.

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