Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Fiji Organic Project

The mission of The Fiji Organic Project is to promote sustainable agriculture, particularly in the sugar cane industry, to strengthen the Fiji economy, while at the same time preserving Fiji’s unique natural environment and ensuring the health of Fiji’s farmers and citizens.

The Need:

Map of Fiji

While the impending expiration of the Lomé Convention (a preferential trading agreement between the EU and ACP countries) currently poses a great risk to Fiji’s economy, the drastic changes that the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) must undergo to maintain viability also present great opportunities. Soon Fiji will be competing on the world market for sugar trade, unless it is able to secure a niche market in which it could gain a comparative advantage.

Of equal importance is the pressure that Europe’s strong environmental lobby could place on the EU to force cane lands, where unsustainable agriculture is practiced, out of production. The sugar industry in Fiji has no option but to comply with the standards set in Europe, because the economy of the country depends so heavily on the sugar industry, and in turn, on the demand from foreign markets.

While Fiji’s economy is dependent on the sugar cane industry, there is a pressing need to create the most sustainable option within this industry. Organic production, renewable energy generation, and recycling of waste material can forge an alternative path for the developing nation comprised of over 300 islands. Surrounded by some of the most spectacular coral reef ecosystems in the world, Fiji’s unique natural environment will be destroyed if the harmful agricultural practices are not changed. A transition to organic is necessary to create a healthy future for the people of the Fiji Islands. The time is ripe for Fiji organic sugar.

Sugar Cane Field - West Part of Fiji

Goals:

  • To assist Fijian sugar cane farmers in the transition to organic production methods
  • To make Fiji a leading global competitor in the burgeoning organic foods market
  • To build capacity amongst Fijian students, farmers, educators, and professionals, and promote self-reliance in development projects
  • To create a productive and self-sustaining business venture with the Fiji Sugar Corporation

The Fiji Organic Project sets out to accomplish its goals in 3 phases:

  • Phase I – Research & Planning
  • Phase II – Training & Implementation
  • Phase III – Certification & Market Entry, with ongoing training

For the Research & Planning Phase, we are creating an interdisciplinary research team composed of 15 Fijian graduate students from the University of the South Pacific and 15 local professionals who will produce a multi-pronged feasibility study for the sugar cane industry in Fiji to transition to organic production methods. Each student will be paired with and collaborate with a local professional in their specific field to ground the student’s research in real experience while also informing the professional’s work. The culmination of this study will be a two-day conference presenting its findings to Fiji government officials and a diverse group of stakeholders in the sugar industry.

The Fiji Organic Project needs your support!

We are currently seeking funding from foundations, businesses, organizations, and individuals, so that we can begin Phase I of the project by offering scholarships to Fijian university students and begin to build our research team.

Do you know of a foundation or organization who may be interested in our project? Have fundraising ideas for us? We’d love to hear from you!

For more information, please contact:
Molly Rockamann
Founding Director, The Fiji Organic Project
fijiorganic(at)yahoo(dot)com

The Fiji Organic Project

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