WIBDI also acts as a catalyst for growth in trade-focused organics in the Pacific region, including in Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia, and Vanuatu.
In the past WIBDI has acted as the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Organics Task Force (ROTF), which created the Pacific Organic Standard – only the third regional organic standard produced worldwide (after the EU and East Africa) and found by the International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS) to be equivalent to the requirements of the EU regulations.
ROTF has now formed into POET Com (Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community). It encourages Pacific Island countries to share good practices for production and exporting, but also to work together after disasters in order to maintain export markets being supplied by Pacific countries and to enable the scaling up of Pacific production.
The role of the POETcom is to serve as the regional peak body for the organics industry and to advocate at the international level on issues that impact on the development of organics in the Pacific and at regional and national levels for the promotion and development of organics to reach the vision –
“Pacific Organics – the key contributor to sustaining our cultures and improving farmer livelihoods, communities, peoples health and the environment in the Pacific”
POETCom began as a technical committee, known as the Regional Organic Taskforce, appointed by SPC with the task to develop the Pacific regional organic standards and a action plan for development of organic in the region. At this early stage the ROTF was not intended to be fully ‘representative’, however the expanded role envisaged for POETCom means that it now needs to evolve into a more representative body for the organic and fair trade movement across the region.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is currently providing technical assistance to POETCom to develop an appropriate, accountable and transparent governance mechanism. In the mean time an Interim Governance Board of 5 members ( 2 from SPC and 3 from the POETCom original membership) is in place to guide POETCom through its establishment phase until the formation of the proposed Executive Board.
Tasks of POETCom include: Ensuring compliance to the Pacific Organic Standard, Certification, Overseeing the implementation of the Pacific Regional Organic Strategic Plan, capacity building, marketing and advocacy.