The Palau Organic Growers Association (POGA) marks a new milestone this week in receiving the organic international accreditation ‘Organic Pasifika’ through Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification. POGA President, Ms. Carolyn Ngiraidis signed the letter of agreement with the Pacific Community (SPC), and through SPC’s Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) POGA can now market their organic products with the label ‘Organic Pasifika’ to regional markets like New Zealand and Australia.
The label “Organic Pasifika” on a product guarantee that the product has been certified to the standards set forth by the Pacific Organic Standard. These standards ensure that the products are produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable, socially responsible, and economically viable. To earn the “Organic Pasifika” mark, products undergo a rigorous inspection and certification process by POETCom.
Ms. Carolyn Ngiraidis, who was elected as the president of POGA in 2020 said “it has been a long learning journey for POGA. It was a “wait and see approach as we wanted first to create a pool of resourceful individuals with extensive experience in traditional practices and learn more how we can integrate organic best practices to our way of farming in Palau. Chief of Horticulture at Bureau of Agriculture – Mr. Trebkul Tellei and Mr. Felix Sengebau at PCC-CRE, Mr. Leonard Basilius, PCAA, our community partners have been instrumental in this journey. Finally, through our participation in the workshops organized by POETCom over the years, we were able to listen to success stories and challenges in the PGS process so that we can properly manage it. Finally, our thanks go out to the SPC POETCom team in Suva, Fiji – Ms. Neema Nand, Ms. Flavia Ciribello, Mr. Rajhnael Deo, Mr. Asish Prasad, Mr. Jim Pierce, POETCom Coordinator and a special thanks to Stephen Hazelman (Organic and PGS specialist) who has stood by our team with his strong words of encouragement”, with thanks and Mesulang.
Since 2011, POGA has been a key player of Palau’s organic movement and an active participant of POETCom and now POGA’s longstanding relationship with POETCom has culminated in the approved organic certification. POETCom has played an instrumental role in collaborating with POGA to drive forward the organic movement in Palau, providing strategic support to POGA for the drafting of the Palau National Organic Policy.
This has been made possible through the support of the Australian Government through the Building Prosperity for Women Producers, Processors and Women-owned Businesses through Organic Value Chains (BPWP) Project implemented by POETCom. The BPWP project is implemented in Palau, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Ms Neema Nand, the Project Manager for BPWP Project congratulated POGA on this milestone achievement, stating “The project and POETCom sees POGA as a significant implementing partner in Palau in boosting the organic movement and strengthening women’s role in agriculture. We are happy to see their journey as one of the champions in organic agriculture through this organic certification. POGA has been providing trainings and support to organic farmers, especially women farmers for a long time, and are now well equipped to provide certification services to interested farmers and businesses. We also want to thank the Bureau of Agriculture for being supportive of the organic movement in Palau.”
Consumers who choose products with the “Organic Pasifika” mark can trust that they are supporting environmentally and socially responsible producers in Palau and the Pacific region.
POGA is a chartered Non-Profit association with the Registrar of Corporation with membership make up of farmers, women traditional Cheldebechel, value-added processors, livestock growers and individuals with home gardens. Membership is open to anyone who wish to join, email: President Carolyn Ngiraidis – email@example.com or Vice-President Ltelatk Fritz – firstname.lastname@example.org or Secretary/Treasurer Cynthia Malsol – email@example.com.
POETCom is the peak body for organic movement in the Pacific region. It is a membership organization of farmers’ associations, farmer support organisations, NGOs, private sector, and research institutions working with governments across the Pacific. POETCom is hosted by the Land Resources Division (LRD) of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji. POETCom is breaking new ground in the Organic movement, with a gender-inclusive people-centred approach that marks an important milestone in gender mainstreaming into the organic agriculture sector in the Pacific.