The 4th of July 2016 will go down as an historic date for the chiefs and people of Emae when they declared the Island an Organic Island, Vanuatu’s first.
In collaboration with Provincial Governance Strengthening Program (PGS) under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Farm to Table, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the important commitment now means the Island is required to comply with the Pacific Organic Standard.
The name of the Project is Engaging Vanuatu Youth in Organic Farming – Farming to Table Chain Approach Project.
Pacific Organic Standard consists of requirements for organic production. It covers plant production, animal husbandry, beekeeping, collection of wild products and aquaculture and also the processing and labeling of products derived from these activities.
The standard provides a mechanism to define the expectations for organic production.
Before the declaration, facilitators of the project approached the chiefs and people of the Island to get their approval.
As a result 290 farmers registered with the project and pledged their commitment to comply to the requirements of the Pacific Organic Standard.
The project implementing agency in Vanuatu is the Farmers Support Association, specialists in third party organic certification over the last 15 to 20 years.
Works to certify the whole Island has kick started and when the Island complied with requirements, it will also enables farmers to label their products as organic.
The next phase of the project is to train chefs and introduce organic menus in hotels and restaurants to create markets of certified organic products.
The main aims of the standard to ensure that sustainable production (farming) systems are developed and maintained.
“Protect consumers against deception and fraud in the marketplace and unsubstantiated claims.
“Protect producers of organic produce against misrepresentation of other agricultural products are organic.
“Ensure that all stages of production, processing, storage, transport and marketing are subject to inspection and comply with this standard.
“To assist in informing consumers about the character of organic production in the Pacific.”
Certification of the Island is expected to take up to 10 months.
The Ngarikitu Island Council of Chiefs and the people of Emae would like to thank UNDP for providing the funding through SPC POETCOM, the support from the Ministry of MALFFB (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity) and Farm Support Association as the implementing partner in Vanuatu.
Emae is one of the three areas in Vanuatu that is fortunate enough to have benefit from such project.
Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa are the three Pacific Island Countries where such organic projects are implemented.
Donors who assisted in the Emae project include POETCOM, UNDP, IFAD, Vanuatu Government and the Law Offices of Timakata & Associates.