POETCom’s eight years of experience in managing a participatory guarantee system (PGS) group for organic farmers was highlighted at the In Times of Pandemic – the Asia and Pacific Perspective webinar held on July 28, 2020. POETCom Organic Systems Extension Officer Stephen Hazelman participated in the event, organized by the Intercontinental Organic Famers Organization (INOFO). POETCom is the primary organization convening INOFO members in the Pacific.
The webinar aimed to inspire organic farmer organizations by sharing how local initiatives strengthen local production, consumption and marketing of organically grown food and products. Empowering these organizations can help ensure peoples’ health and wellness and provide income to farmers through PGS, both during times of crisis such as the current COVID-19 emergency and normal operations in the future, to build a sustainable, reliable and earth-friendly food production system. POETCom is now suggesting regular webinars or similar sessions so that those implementing and managing PGS’ in Asia Pacific can share their valuable experience across regions.
POETCom began evaluating the PGS system for the Pacific under an IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) project focused on identifying affordable organic systems for rural and poor local farmers. It now has eight years’ of experience managing approximately 4000 Pacific farmers in their various PGS groups. There are currently 10 PGS groups operating on six Pacific Island countries: the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Vanuatu, with 2102 producers certified.