A meeting in Nadi, Fiji this week has brought together organic farmers from across the Pacific to identify gender barriers within organic agriculture and find solutions to best address them.
The meeting included approximately 30 participants from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga focussing on gender knowledge and tools via the newly launched POETCom Gender and Value Chain Analysis Toolkit. The meeting supports the development of a strategic plan for the POETCom Women’s Chapter, which was formed by POETCom in 2021.
The event Keynote Speaker, Honourable Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Sashi Kiran discussed efforts by the Fiji Government to incorporate gender into all policies and programmes, stating, “The 2022-2027 Policy for Gender in Agriculture represented an important milestone for the adoption of a gender-responsive approach towards agriculture plans and programmes. The policy seeks to increase women’s access to productive resources, improve their participation in decision-making processes, promote their leadership in agriculture, and ensure effective mainstreaming of gender perspectives in all programmes through strengthened capacities, resources and commitment in the agriculture ministries.”
Ms Erika Oord, the Acting Counsellor for the Human Development Team at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade shared in her opening remarks Australia's acknowledgement of the good work that the Pacific Community SPC (through POETCom) is doing in the region empowering women farmers and strengthening their capacity at both policy and technical levels, mentioning SPC's assistance in facilitating discussions for the recently completed Palau National Organic Policy. “The Australian Government is here to listen and learn how we can work with you to enhance support for women to contribute to Pacific food and nutritional security," she stated.
Through this workshop, POETCom is strengthening its commitment to promoting the growth of the organic movement and equitable trade practices in the Pacific.
POETCom’s Gender and Value Chains Advisor, Flavia Ciribello said, “It’s great to see how this workshop is bringing together organic stakeholders from across the region and POETCom’s unique governance body, the Women’s Chapter, now has an opportunity for organizational introspection and a transformative process for elevating the important roles and contributions of women to the sector for greater equality and social advancement.”
The Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) is committed to supporting the development of a fair and inclusive organic movement in the Pacific. This has been made possible with the support of the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Lead (PWL) project of SPC.
The workshop is supported by the Australian Government through Pacific Women Lead (PWL) at SPC programme, in close collaboration with the Building Prosperity For Women Producers, Processors And Women-Owned Business Through Organic Value Chains (BPWP) Project; The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and SPC Partnership; Kiwa Initiative Pacific Organic Learning Farms Network (POLFN) Project- funded by the European Union, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and managed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
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.
One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to improve women’s leadership, realise women’s rights and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts. The partnership with the Australian Government commits SPC to deliver the programme as the cornerstone for the PWL portfolio.