“While we have grown (to 22 countries), we are mindful of one fact; all our efforts will be wasted if there is no next generation to carry on the work of the Organic Movement.”

Chairman of Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) and Board Director, Moses Nambo, literally hit the nail on the head with his statement to welcome an energetic group of young farmers of young men and women from Niue, Cook Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu that are taking part in ‘Youth Learning Exchange in Resilient Farming Practices’ in Port Vila this week.

The majority of young farmers from Vanuatu come from Nabil and Nasituan on Tanna and two from Malo Island in the North.

Traditional farming in the Pacific has gone full circle and is this time attracting the young generation.

“We salute your decision to take up a farming legacy that places the protection of our limited, fragile soil and natural resources at the heart of your efforts,” POETCom Chairman Nambo said.

In these trying times, the key to protecting the soil is resilient farming.

“The fact that you all are involved in resilient farming practices and have documented these and will widely share them gives me hope for the future,” he said.

He praised the participants for their contributions to the making of the ‘Farmer to Farmers Resilience and Organic Practices Series’ which are documented in black and white.

“You have worked hard to document the resilient practices information. They will be widely shared for the benefit of all Pacific Island farmers,” he said.

He thanked all donor partners and stakeholders especially the Governments of all the countries that are members of POETCom for making the event possible.

Most importantly, he welcomed the Guest of Honour, Acting Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Benjamin Shing, to the podium to launch the event.

The Acting DG said, “I can see the momentum and passion for organics growing and am happy to note Vanuatu is setting the pace and leading the way for the Region.

“It is therefore fitting to hold this workshop of young organic farmers here in the land where the organic winds of change are strongly blowing”.

With the disastrous impact of climate change and its constant threat, the Acting DG said, “Resilient farming practices that minimise the impacts of droughts, like mulching are organic as well and has been practiced by our ancestors for generations.

“Farmers from atoll countries like Marshall Islands will show us the types of resilient practices they employ to make farming fruitful in their country.”

In fact POETCom has successfully documented the various resilient and organic practices of each of these countries to help the public understand how farmers cope with climatic challenges in their countries.

“We will learn from our peers and pick up what we think will work for us. Perhaps a resilience technique we learn from our farmer friend across the ocean in Micronesia, Polynesia or Melanesia may help us answer one of these persistent questions of how to improve our yields and how to prevent crop damage during a nasty storm,” he said.

“I must commend the partnership –CTA Youth Leading Learning in Resilient Agriculture Practices Project that is equipping our young farmers with the skills of video recording the resilient practices so it can be shared across our Pacific Islands Region.

“Thank you as well to the International Fund for Agricultural Development Capacity Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific project and the Farm to Table Project implemented in partnership with UNDP Pacific Programme Office and the Sustainable Development Goal Fund.

“Also acknowledging the work of local partners Farm Support Association and the focal organic farming organisations in Marshall Islands, Niue, Cook Islands and Fiji.”