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aussie 28-09-2002 11:42 PM

CDE Studies Organic Farming in Pacific
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Farmers in the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea, stand to benefgit fgrom assistance from the Brussels based Centre for the Development of Enterprises (CDE) if a survey on organic farming in the regions shows good results.

Studies are being done to ascertain the viabilityof organic farming and the need for possible CDE assistance for viable projects.

CDE, of which the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) is the antennae has engaged a consultant from Fiji, Ms Makelesi Tavaiqia to carry out a survey of 10 South Pacific Forum Island countries.

The countries include Papua New Guinea, Palau, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Niue, Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, and Fiji.

aussie 28-09-2002 11:48 PM

Ms Tavaiqia has visited eight of those countries and visited PNG recently to interview farmers, traders of organic prodducts and other stakeholders with the assistance of IPA. Due to time limitations MS Tavaiqi was only able to visit Lae and Rabaul.

Some of the similarities she discovered during the visits include:
  • the need to carry out awareness on organic farming
  • the need for training and capacity building
  • the need for research into alternatives to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides; and
  • the need for market research

Her study has found that farmers of food crops are generally receptive to the idea of organic farming especially since most depend heavily on synthetic chemicals to sustain the quality and the quantity of produce and supply to the export market.

Ms Tavaiqia said most of those seh talked to were sceptical to the risk involved in a sudden switch from the conventional to organic farming.

Ms Tavaiqia's findings will form part of a report on individual countries as well as the region. Her work is only the first phase of the study. her final report which is due to go to CDE in May be followed by further studies after which CDE will decide on possible assistance through funding of pilot projects on organic farming either in individual countries or the region in general.

aussie 28-09-2002 11:52 PM

While all sectors are eligible for CDE assistance, priority will be tgiven to projects that have a high impact on development, preserve the environment and are based on responsible mangement.

Meanwhile, Manager for IPA's Investment and Export Promotion Unit, Mr. Clarence Hoot who accompanied Ms Tavaiqi during her PNG visit, said that a collaborative approach and co-operation between relevant government departments/agencies and growers is needed in order to draw assistance from CDE.

He said this will be achieved by organising rural farmers in to Associations and co-operatives.

aussie 28-09-2002 11:59 PM

Statistics Show Growth in Organic Farming
Organic farming has, over the past few years, increased in popularity in countries in Europe and America who have weighed the benefits of organically grown food and agricultural products against the conventional chemically treated food crops.

Traditionally CDE, formerly Centre for the Development of Industry (CDI), concentrated its efforts on industrial and atgro-industry sectors but the study on organic farming is prompted by the increase in demand for organic products in overseas markets.

Current statistics show an increase of 25% yearly which is projected to further increase in the coming years.

By the year 2005, organic food consumption will make up 15% of the total world food consumption.

Organic food is encouraged int he Pacific because of the fact that it is very nutritious and healthy to the human body, environmentally friendly and safe, the price is good for market purposes, and for small island countries organic food and the use of organic fertilizers help to improve the soil structure and help sustain the limited land resources.

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