Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community


Posted On: April 19, 2016

It is the digital era and a project capitalising on this has started in Niue to engage youth in the Pacific island country plus two others involving them in using the internet to multiply earnings from farming and share climate-resilient farming solutions with the world. The project, Youth Leading Learning in Climate Resilient Values Chains in the Pacific, will initially train 50 young farmers in Niue, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Cook Islands in Web 2.0 and social media skills.

The youth initiative is  coordinated by the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom), within the Pacific Community (SPC), and supported by the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA). POETCom coordinator at SPC, Karen Mapusua, said young people will use Web 2.0 and social media skills to document climate-resilient farming practices and promote them widely.

“We’re happy the CTA has provided the support necessary to engage young people in documenting these practices that can be widely shared and add to the knowledge base for climate change solutions in the Pacific,” Ms Mapusua said.

“Applying organic principles in farming helps build resilient farming systems that can withstand prolonged drought because of improved capacity to retain water, as well as contribute to sustainable farm yields and food security through good soil management.

“Information and knowledge will be shared with a wider group of youth beneficiaries across the region through media platforms, and social media,” she added. Youths will develop their Web 2.0 skills to develop and market agri-products using online platforms reaching out to potentially thousands of customers.

In this way, Ms Mapusua said the project has the added dimension of attracting young people to farming by shifting the perception that farming is more than manual labour. “Farming landscapes, for instance in Niue, are filled with older people, yet we’re optimistic that once youth can witness that farming can be fun, is cool, is an art form, uses trendy tools and is a viable income source, more will become engaged in this sector.

“If we continue with the trend of aging farmers, there are real concerns about food and nutritional security in some island countries,” Ms Mapasua said.

At the end of the project term, we expect youths from Niue, Marshalls and Cook Islands will be engaging with at least 600 peers from around the Pacific. Eventually the expectation is that a regional youth network will be sharing climate-resilient farming best practices, inspiring agriculture product development and attracting more youths into farming, extending beyond the project term.

Ms Mapusua said the youth project will complement the ‘Capacity Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific Project’ implemented in the same countries with support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development and SPC.

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