Greetings colleagues and friends of POETCom.
It’s been just over four years since POETCom found a home in the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Suva offices. In that short time, we have seen amazing growth and development in the organic movement in the Pacific.
POETCom’s membership now includes over 40 organisations and we have over 80,000 organically certified farmers in our region! The variety of organic products and range of exports has expanded, and in our local markets more consumers are seeking organic produce. Our governments are actively engaging in the promotion and support of organic development and organics has moved from the fringe to being a real contributor to development in our region. Notably, this movement has been driven by the vision and passion of Pacific farmers and the small organisations that work with them.
The variety of organic products and range of exports has expanded, and in our local markets more consumers are seeking organic produce. Notably, this movement has been driven by the vision and passion of Pacific farmers and the small organisations that work with them.
I have been privileged to work with these farmers, who are the heart of POETCom, and to serve the organisation over the past four years, but sadly it is time for me to move on.
POETCom will now be in the capable hands of Stephen Hazelman, our Extension Systems Officer, who will manage the programme until funds are identified to recruit a new coordinator. He will be well supported by Theresa Fox, our Communications Officer, Osea Rasea, Production Systems Officer and Lily Wong, Programme Assistant.
I’d like to thank the staff for their work and commitment, the POETCom Advisory Board, which has supported the work of the staff in many ways, and the membership for engaging actively in the network and working hard in their own countries to grow the organic movement.
I am grateful for the support of the governments of the region and our development partners ‒ the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme and, of course, the Pacific Community for taking a chance on POETCom and providing an environment where we have been able to develop and find the best ways to support organics in the Pacific.
In the future there will be other changes. POETCom is after all organic and will grow, change and evolve ‘organically’. I look forward to watching its development and to supporting and participating in the community in other ways, including as a committed organic consumer, advocate and would be grower!
I wish you all well and hope you enjoy this edition of Cultivating Community.