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Pacific Organic Farmers Call for Innovative Solutions to Sustainable Food Systems Effort

Innovative approaches to manage natural resources to strengthen food security and poverty alleviation and contribute to the wellbeing of the Pacific people was called for by the Pacific organic movement during a virtual dialogue last week.

The Dialogue titled Uniting the Voices of Oceania Pasifika Organic Farmers through the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organisations was held in advance of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit scheduled for September in New York.

It brought together 180 farmers, researchers, NGOs, government and community members from the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and beyond to focus on the UN Food System Summit Action Track 3, which seeks to  boost nature-positive production systems to globally meet the fundamental human right to healthy and nutritious food while operating within planetary boundaries. Participants brainstormed on evidence and experience-based game-changing solutions that transform food production systems to work for both people and nature.

In the Pacific, the network of community-based organic farms is steadily growing. “We don’t need mass farming. We need a mass of small farmers!” said Thierry Lison, organic farmer and CEO of Vaihuti Fresh Permaculture Farm and a key Dialogue speaker. “And we need to raise consumer awareness on how organic agriculture contributes global solutions to global issues such as climate change; food security, food safety, people and environment health. Organic food is not only good for our health but the health of our planet as a whole.”

The Dialogue provided a platform for diversified voices, ensuring fair and equitable representation of people of different genders, ages, and from different countries, territories and sub-regions.

In his opening address, the Vice President of French Polynesia, Mr Tearii Te Moana Alpha called for “new and improved approaches to natural resources. They are the link between agriculture, food security and nutrition, and the reduction of poverty and inequality.” Mr Alpha added that, “strengthening local, healthy and fair food systems such as in the UN’s Decade of Family Farming, the networks of small agri-food businesses that support small scale distribution are key to enhancing the value of products in local channels.”

The outcomes from the dialogue will feed into the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organisations’ (INOFO) submission to the UN Food Systems Summit in September. INOFO is the global voice of the world’s organic farmers to the UN. The UN Food Systems Summit seeks to use the world’s post COVID response to re-think, repair, reboot, restart and replace Food Systems with ones that in the next 10 years can help deliver the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals. The dialogue was led by the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) initiative of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division and supported by the Australian Government funded Building Prosperity for Women Producers, Processors and Women Owned Businesses through Organic Value Chains (BPWP) project and the PROTÉGÉ project, funded by the 11th European Development Fund, both managed by SPC.

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