Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community

Engaging Fiji And Vanuatu Youth In Organic Farming – A Farm To Table Chain Approach

The project aimed to provide youths in Fiji and Vanuatu with skills in organic production to as a source of income. The project was designed to address the high level of youth unemployment in the Pacific.

Project activities were implemented in the following areas:

  1. Assist youth to develop knowledge and skills in organic production;
  2. Create employment opportunities in organic agriculture through a value-chain approach;
  3. Strengthen the institutional capacity of the National Youth Councils; and
  4. Address the vulnerability of youths working in the informal economy.

Key Activities

Scoping mission

As the project consultant, Robert Oliver – renowned chef and author of the award-winning book Mea Kai – worked with young chefs at Breakas Resort in Vanuatu to develop organic menus and dishes. After an assessment of the existing menus indicated the need to include more local foods, new dishes were crafted using locally supplied vegetables. The creation of such dishes was to inspire more use of local organic foods (fruits, vegetables and root crops) to sustain the supply chain from the farm to the tourist table.

Vanuatu National Organic Certification Committee

The establishment of the Vanuatu National Organic Certification Committee resulted in the certification of up to 1000 coffee, vegetable and root crop farmers on Tanna, Efate and Espiritu Santo Islands. The farmers successfully enrolled and participated in peer reviews through the PGS for organic certification. The creation of a national body streamlined the approval process and enabled prompt certification for farmers.

PGS and peer reviews

Vanuatu and Fiji farmers established PGS groups following training in the mechanics of organic certification by POETCom. The Vanuatu groups were aligned with crop type: coffee, manioc, vegetables and peanuts. Certification was awarded and manioc flour, bearing the Organic Pasifika mark, was marketed by Lapita Café in major supermarkets in Port Vila and online. Farmers on Espiritu Santo Island supplied Lapita Café with cassava for making the manioc flour.

Value chains

Farmers in Ra Province, Fiji, supplied the country’s only organic restaurant, iTukuni, which is owned by POETCom member, FRIEND. A freezer truck, purchased through the project, collected farm produce from the farmers and transported it to the restaurant, located about 200 kilometres away. The truck preserved the freshness of the crops.

Manioc flour, a gluten-free flour was promoted as a healthy option to wheat flour, sells widely in major Vanuatu supermarkets and is also exported in visitors’ suitcases. The flour carried the Organic Pasifika mark. Farmers on Espiritu Santo Island supplied the local Lapita Café processing plant where the cassava root was dehydrated before being sent to the Port Vila outlet to be ground into flour.

One thousand farmers gain organic certification

A variety of products with the Organic Pasifika mark, including peanuts, coffee, vegetable and root crops and manioc flour, was launched in Vanuatu. This was a result of the Vanuatu National Organic Certification Committee awarded certification to 1000 farmers in 2017. They formed the biggest PGS group in the Pacific during the project.

Knowledge management

Practices used for farming peanuts and coffee, setting up organic nurseries and seed washing in Vanuatu, and use of natural pesticides in Fiji were documented to form the project’s knowledge bank. FRIEND launched “Organics Simplified”, a four-page lift-out describing organic soil improvement practices, such as composting, using Gliricidia for nitrogen fixing, making liquid poultry manure, and pest management methods. “Organics Simplified” was distributed throughout Fiji in major daily newspapers, reaching thousands of people

Farm to Table Poster


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