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.
Currently the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is serving as the secretariat of POETCom.
The membership of POETCom is broad based and multisectoral with representation from organic farmers, farmer organizations, traders, Governments, academic and research institutions, NGOs, private sector businesses and regional technical support agencies such as FAO and SPC.
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 are:
Pacific Organic Standard:
- While the Pacific Organic Standard its logos and seals are owned by SPC, SPC will delegate management to POETCom including;
- Maintaining and reviewing the standards on an agreed periodic basis;
- Seek equivalence with other standards in the market place such as EU, JAS, NOP etc;
- Seek legal recognition at national level of the Pacific Organic Standard.
- Manage the application and use of the ‘Organic Pasifika’ mark or logo (delegated from SPC);
- Develop rules and systems for use of the ‘Organic Pasifika’ mark and monitor application and compliance with these rules;
- Seek legal protection of the mark and brand;
- Market the ‘Organic Pasifika’ brand.
- Coordinate and accredit certifying agencies working in the Pacific and certifying to the Pacific Organic Standard;
- Identify appropriate models of certification for the Pacific Region and assist countries access certification.
- Develop certification procedures for certifying bodies certifying to the Pacific Standard.
Pacific Regional Organic Strategic Plan (PROSP)
- Oversee the implementation of the PROSP;
- Monitor and evaluate implementation and impact of the PROSP
- Assist identify funds and develop projects to ensure implementation of the PROSP is resourced adequately
- Revise and update PROSP as required.
- Facilitate capacity building of national organic associations/lead organisations;
- In conjunction with organic associations and Ministries of Agriculture develop farmer capacity in organic agriculture techniques;
- Develop networks and information sharing strategies for organic farmers and associations/lead bodies;
- Identify research needs and liaise with research institutions (eg USP, NARI and those based in the French Speaking Pacific) to meet these needs;
- Facilitate development in post harvest handling and value adding;
- Collect and maintain a statistical over view of organics in the region;
- Consider other parallel issues such as Fair Trade and facilitate their application to the regional organics movement.
- Link producers and exporters to appropriate assistance to develop products, markets and marketing plans locally and internationally;
- Promote “Organic Pasifika” products through facilitating involvement in appropriate trade shows and events;
- Investigate web based marketing strategies;
- Facilitate mechanisms to coordinate production to meet market demand and avoid competition.
- Advocate at national, regional and international levels on the interests and concerns of the organics industry, in particular the organic farmer;
- Expand advocacy to directly linked areas such as health, environment etc;
- Keep informed the Pacific High Level Organics Group of developments, needs and priorities.