Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community


Posted On: September 8, 2015

A group focussed on building organic farming networks in Solomon Islands has become the newest member of the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community. Gurafesu Biodiversity and Climate Change Community Development Association of the Solomon Islands is made up of fruits and vegetables, cocoa, wild harvest crops like ngalinut as well as root crop farmers keen on minimising pollution caused by agriculture production.

Association director Tom Daoni says the association was formed in Malopabi settlement in Honiara out of an initial desire to cut back on farming costs. “We realised organic practices are simple and bear no additional costs to the people who already don’t have money to buy chemical fertilisers, we had to make our own,” Mr Daoni said. “Eventually we were helping identify solutions for real issues facing Solomon society like the high rate of youth unemployment and the mounting case of the prevalence of non-communicable diseases like diabetes.

“People were getting sick from imported goods in stores, so they almost forgot about traditional crops and eating local foods so much so that in rural areas we have communities eating rice, Taio tuna cans and noodles.” Gurafesu registered as an association in 2012 and began heavily promoting organic farming concepts like composting with Solomon Islands communities to apply in their backyard gardens.

A main farm at the April Ridge New Settlement now supplies restaurants, city market and the Solomon Islands National University. April Ridge is the government allocated relocation site of victims of the Honiara 2014 floods. Youth are actively engaged in the association’s awareness drives.

“We involve youths to keep them off the streets so instead of just roaming around aimlessly they plant and sell products for an income,” Mr Daoni said. “Backyard gardening keeps people fit and healthy and also ensures the use of local foods because there is a consistent supply in place.”

The group is now pursuing organic certification to meet an ever-increasing demand for organically certified agriculture products. “We want to start with our lead vegetable farmers and continue to spread the knowledge of organics throughout the Solomon Islands because we believe in its benefits for the environment and good health of our people,” Mr Daoni added.

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