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September 20, 2021
Agriculture Food News Pacific

Nature-based solutions key to new farm learning network

A new network of organic farms that was launched today will work to increase food security and help protect the Pacific’s food system from current and future shocks, including climate change and public health emergencies such as COVID-19. 

The Pacific Organic Learning Farm Network was introduced at the Pacific Community (SPC) Headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia. The initiative will address the Pacific’s burgeoning food and environmental challenges by promoting organics and best agricultural practices initially in Fiji, Nauru, Tonga and the Solomon Islands, with exchange and learning components implemented in Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.  

The organic farms will target smallholder producers whose farms become learning centres that demonstrate the benefits of biodiversity, agroecology, agroforestry and organic production methods and technologies for climate resilience

“Smallholder farms are ideal partners for this ambitious initiative,” stated Karen Mapusua, Director of SPC’s Land Resources Division. “Their intrinsic knowledge of agriculture, communities and markets is a result of their closeness to the land and local food culture. Many of these farmers are inspiring stewards of biodiversity and sustainable food production, and they will be natural leaders as we enact nature-based solutions to meet the region’s growing food challenges.”

The initial base of learning farms will share methodologies and biodiverse planting materials to expand the amount of sustainably managed land. This will help ensure nutritious and healthful food and agricultural products are regularly available and able to reach people throughout the Pacific during current and future shocks, including drought, storms, public health emergencies and other disasters. The project will then seek to ensure sustainability through market incentives. Farms and their connected food networks will be monitored, with the goal of increasing their visibility and further spreading their knowledge and experience to other farms, communities and countries in the region.  

The four-year project will be managed by the POETCom (Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community) SPC within the Land Resources Division through the Kiwa Initiative, an ambitious drive to make Pacific Island ecosystems, economies and communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change through Nature-based Solutions. Kiwa is funded by the European Union, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and is managed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

“The Kiwa Initiative is a unique multi-donor program in the Pacific that aims to address two global issues – climate change adaptation and biodiversity preservation – by providing different types of technical and financing support. After the launch of the Initiative in 2020, AFD is pleased to sign a financing agreement with SPC, a key partner, for this Pacific Organic Learning Farm network which is the first regional project of the Kiwa Initiative,” stated Philippe Renault, AFD Pacific Regional director.

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