NATION

Organic Coffee Plans For Nadroga Highland

A  village in one of Fiji’s biggest province, Nadroga, is taking steps to produce the country’s first community-owned organic coffee beans to tap into international premium markets. The village recently
25 Sep 2015 10:30
Organic Coffee Plans For  Nadroga Highland
Some Nadroga villagers recently received Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of organic certification following training provided by the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community. Photo: Secretariat of the Pacific Community

A  village in one of Fiji’s biggest province, Nadroga, is taking steps to produce the country’s first community-owned organic coffee beans to tap into international premium markets.

The village recently established it’s Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of organic certification following training provided by the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) housed within the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Participating in organic certification will link their coffee to buyers in far-flung locations like New Zealand, Australia, New Caledonia and possibly the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As part of the village’s PGS set-up, POETCom conducted awareness on the organic principles of health, ecology, fairness, care and the maintenance of culture and traditions.

These are principles that underpin the Pacific Organic Standards or the guide to organic system development in the Pacific.

The community also received training on the mechanics of PGS that include mapping coffee growing areas and practical exercises on carrying out a peer review of each other’s coffee growing areas.

POETCom organic systems extension officer Stephen Hazelman said as villagers converted to organic principles they became active participants in the growth of green economies.

Organic farming systems rely on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control methods.

“PGS is a quality assurance system developed by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) that actively engages the coffee community in carrying out peer reviews of harvesting processes to ensure organics principles are maintained,” Mr Hazelman said.

“It’s one built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchanges.”

Organic principles that apply to the village have been adapted from the Pacific Organic Standards.

Mr Hazelman said the certification of the villagers’ coffee should be concluded by the end of 2015 ahead of the start of the 2016 coffee harvest season in February.

On successfully completing the certification process, the community and the Bula Coffee Company will be allowed to use the Organic Pasifika mark that guarantees the organic integrity of a product that bears it.

Fijian owned Bula Coffee Company as the village’s sole coffee buyer is providing crucial market linkages, channelling income to the community that had largely depended on root crops for their livelihoods.

“Bula Coffee is committed to ensuring sustainable livelihoods for grassroots communities in Fiji, through harvesting, processing and marketing of coffee that grows wild in remote places for many years.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 



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