World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Pacific Youths to Take On Organic Agriculture

Pacific Youths to Take On Organic Agriculture

[Port Vila, Vanuatu – 24 June] The second in a series of workshops to build the skills of youth in organic agriculture concluded in Port Vila last week. 

Organic agriculture is a farming system that relies on working closely with the ecosystem without reliance on chemicals to increase yields or manage weeds and pests.  Organic agriculture is also one of the areas attracting young farmers worldwide. Against the backdrop of an aging farming population in the Pacific, organic agriculture has been identified as a means to get more young Pacific Islanders involved in farming.

The Melanesian sub regional workshop in Vanuatu follows on from a pilot workshop held earlier in March this year in Tonga. It was attended by 25 youth farmers, including 5 women. The workshop enabled the participants to examine the similarities and difference between traditional practices and organic farming. A key component of the workshop was the role of organic guarantee systems and organic certification in building consumer trust and in developing markets for organic products both locally and internationally. Throughout the week-long event, participants engaged in extensive practical demonstrations and field work and tested firsthand the science behind growing food organically.

Andrew Waileilakeba, a farmer from Navuso village in Fiji said he learnt a lot from the workshop.

"I am not an organic farmer but the knowledge I gained at the workshop will immensely help me to move into organic farming in phases. What I liked most about this workshop was that was only 30% lecture but 70% was practical hands on experience in farms which are our open field labs," he said.

“Based on the field visits I undertook as part of this workshop and the information I received, I feel that Vanuatu has lots of experience in organic farming and can transfer knowledge and technology to other Pacific Island Countries.”

Weileilakeba is a member  of Agronet Fiji, a loosely formed   small scale farmers association of more than 100 members, and he has confirmed that he will engage in helping young farmers to adopt organic practices particularly in compost making and grow organic vegetables and fruits.

Ms Takena Redfern, an Agriculture Extension Officer and trainer with the Kiribati Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development was also a participant at the workshop.

Having gained knowledge from this workshop she intends to create awareness in Kiribati on organic farming particularly among young people and encourage them to grow organic fruits and vegetables which have a high income potential.

“Because of limited land area in Kiribati, the focus of my outreach will be in the outer islands and in South Tarawa. I feel that niche organic farming can contribute towards Kiribati’s export earnings,” said Ms Redfern.

She added however, that she was concerned by the cost of organic certification but believed that with the help of one of the workshop organisers, POET Com, she could get support for certification.

The workshop is the outcome of a partnership between the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom), Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the United Nations Development Programme’s Pacific Centre, and Farm Support Association (FSA) of Vanuatu. The overall objective of this project is to enhance livelihood opportunities for youth in organic agriculture.

UNDP Private Sector Advisor Dr. Asif Chida, said, “Farmers play a key role in providing food security in the Pacific. If youths do not take up farming from the aging farming population, the region will face a precarious position in the future.”

“We need to change the view that a career in agriculture is not seen as just farm workers but entrepreneurs and business people with an important role in our communities.”

The trainers are Karen Mapusua, POETCom Coordinating Officer; Dr. Shane Tutua, a soil scientist and farmer from the Solomon Islands; and Peter Kaoh, Associate Director of FSA; and Nambo Moses from the Vanuatu Ministry of Agriculture. POETCom is the peak organics body for the Pacific region, and its secretariat is based at SPC with funding support from the EU-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) Project.

Mapasua said that POETCom recognised the importance of both government and the private sector in providing technical advice and also in mentoring and supporting young farmers as they develop their farms and businesses.

The participants at the workshop were from NGOs and organisations from across Melanesia including:  Zai Na Tina Organic Systems Demonstration Farm, Solomon Islands; Foundation for Rural Integrated  Enterprises and Development (FRIEND); Nausori Young Farmers, Fiji; National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Papua New Guinea; Farm Support Association and Rural Training Centre, Vanuatu;  and the Vanuatu Agricultural College as well as heads of extension services from the ministries of agriculture in Kiribati and Tuvalu.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news