Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT)

The main goal of the European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project is to strengthen the export capacity of Pacific member countries in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock. The project employs a whole-of-supply chain approach, assisting commercial ventures and producer groups to become export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agriculture, forestry and aquaculture products. The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji and started in June 2011.

POETCom Technical Exchange takes first steps in regional organic trade

Thursday, 11 July 2013 12:57

A highlight of the POETCom Technical Exchange held in Noumea New Caledonia on 1–5 July 2013 was a discussion of lessons learned from the four years of experience of the BioCaledonia Association participatory guarantee system (PGS).

Range of Organic Pasifika-certified honey products on display in Noumea organic store.

PGS are low-cost locally managed organic certification schemes designed to build farmer capacity through exchange and peer review and to provide a credible guarantee to consumers that the product they are purchasing is really organic.

POETCom has established a regional PGS certification scheme, and those meeting POETCom’s stringent criteria can apply to use the Organic Pasifika mark on their products. The aim of this scheme is to identify organic products from the Pacific clearly on the shelf and, over time, build an awareness of the amazing array of organic products available in our region and develop trade in organic products between the Pacific Islands.

According to BioCaledonia’s Executive Director, Fabienne Gandet, in four years, New Caledonia has gone from ‘a state of no organic agriculture to a thriving and diverse organic movement with consumer, retailers and producers all engaged and committed to organic development.’

BioCaledonia now has 223 members, including 126 growers – 46 of whom are organically certified – and 97 consumers covering a range of products from fresh fruit and vegetables to vanilla, herbs, spices and honey.

In recognition of BioCaledonia’s success and its contribution to the development of agriculture in New Caledonia, the representative of the government of Southern Province, Pascal Vittori, announced during the opening of the POETCom Technical Exchange that the province plans to continue to provide financial support the work of BioCaledonia for a further five years.

Organic farmer, Dr Shane Tutua, and Frederic Pratelli, owner of organic specialty store in New Caledonia, shake hands on the agreement to import organic canarium nuts from Solomon Islands.

Participants in the meeting saw evidence of the growth of organics in New Caledonia, with Organic Pasikifa products certified by BioCaledonia on display in markets, specialty organic stores and high-end gift shops.

Frederic Pratelli, owner of the local organic specialty store Biomonde, currently sources most of his organic products from Europe and Asia. He was enthusiastic about the concept of sourcing Organic Pasifika certified products from other Pacific Islands, and as a result of meeting producers at the Technical Exchange he is ready to import his first shipment of canarium nuts from Solomon Islands. He is also awaiting samples of cocosap sugar from Kiribati. Cocosap sugar is a product he currently buys from the Philippines, but it has to be shipped to New Caledonia via Europe.

Both the canarium and the cocosap sugar products are working towards organic certification under PGSs with assistance from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the EU-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project.

Speaking about this new market opportunity, Dr Shane Tutua of Solomon Islands said, ‘We can start this export small and work with producers on just one island, but I can see the potential for growth into other markets in the Pacific and perhaps even further.’

POETCom is the peak organics body for the Pacific region. Its secretariat is based at SPC with funding support from the European Union-funded IACT project. Its vision is for organics and ethical trade to be the key contributors to sustaining our cultures and communities, improving farmer livelihoods, communities, people’s health and the environment in the Pacific.

For more information please contact:
Karen Mapusua
on tel. (+679) 337 0733 ext. 35453; mobile: (+679) 764 2885
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Ashley Gopal on tel. (+679) 337 9492 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you may contact the LRD helpdesk: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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