“We harvest certified 100% organic eggs laid by hens fed with organic and GMO-free food on the atoll of Arutua in Tuamotu Islands, in order to provide you with a natural and superior quality product on the island of Tahiti.”
That is the message on the I Feel Bio (bio in French means organic) social media page of a Tahitian agri-preneur family. The Pommier family in Arutura are the first 100% certified organic egg producers in French Polynesia, since November 2021.
The Pommier family were initially pearl farmers for a quarter of a century. But the current pandemic with its health (and economic) crises resulted in the family’s decision to also diversify into organic farming. Their business has bloomed in the months since its establishment.
I Feel Bio currently raises 300 hens and produces an average of 242 eggs daily. “”From the beginning, we wanted to export to Tahiti (from Arutura),” said Ariihau Pommier, organic farmer and owner of I Feel Bio. “For the moment, the eggs are sent weekly by plane and delivered to five outlets in the urban area. The rest are sold locally.”
The organic food for the hens is imported from New Zealand or the United States costing twice as much as the traditional food. This has resulted in these organic eggs costing more than conventionally produced eggs. However, according to Sylvain Todesco, technical adviser with Red Gallina Tahiti, organic certified eggs are “still a niche market and that there will be other organic certifications in the coming years.”
To be certified organic, a hen must have 4 m2 to gambol. Secondly, the soil is poor in the Tuamotus and water and shade are scarce in the archipelago.
“We need planting despite the coral soil and the lack of water so we brought our techniques and worked with the people there. We planted papaya trees, fruit trees, but also miki miki, tohonu, kahaia, in alteration,” said Sylvain Todesco, who recently organised the World Egg Day.
The grounds have been prepared for 2022, to accommodate the new hens and increase to 700–800 laying hens next year. “For water, we recover rainwater and we acquired a desalinizer,” said Ariihau Pommier.
VaihutiFresh, another organic association in Tumaraa, French Polynesia is the second producer to also now be organically certified.