The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD) POETCom (Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community) initiative has launched farm learning centres in Tonga to chart a future for organics in the country. The farm centre launch followed a comprehensive baseline survey on the Mahuleva and Ovava Farms, through the Pacific Organic Learning Farms Network (POLFN) Project, assessing critical aspects of organic farming using agroecological approaches.
POLFN is the first regional project of the Kiwa Initiative, a multi-donor programme that aims to strengthen the climate change resilience of Pacific Island ecosystems, communities and economies through nature-based solutions. POLFN aims to meet the climate resilience and capacity-building needs of smallholder farmers in Fiji, Nauru, Tonga and Solomon Islands. The project develops organic farm networks that demonstrate the benefits of nature-based solutions through farm-based learning centres.
Centre preparation includes farm surveys that evaluate agroecological performance, soil health, carbon status and land use, as well as provide a socio-economic analysis of the farmers. The Tonga evaluation assessed factors such as soil health, nutrient management, pest control, and pesticide exposure to identify areas where sustainable practices could be enhanced for improved crop productivity, biodiversity conservation and resilience to climate change to promote sustainable livelihoods, enhance social well-being, and facilitate the sustainable development of small-holder farmers.
Additional surveys will take place in other POLFN countries as the farm network expands in 2023 and 2024. See more on the Tonga survey and launch in the short video below.