FARMER SUPPORT: Sustainability & Biodiversity Training in Papua New Guinea

In late June, Fairtrade ANZ’s Producer Support and Relations team conducted the first two workshops of its Sustainability and Biodiversity Training Program in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik and Madang Provinces. More than one hundred members of the Fairtrade Certified cocoa producer organisations Huiwani Cooperative Society and Adelberts Cooperative Society attended the trainings, which were conducted in their producing communities and in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Papua New Guinea’s Department of Agriculture and Livestock.

The main objectives of the training are to raise awareness among small farmers in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands on the connection between responsible farming and biodiversity conservation, and to strengthen the role of Fairtrade Certified farmers in responsible land use, which is the basis of the Production chapter of the Fairtrade Standards for both Small Producer Organisations and Contract Production.

During the introductory three-day sessions, attendees gained skills in biodiversity conservation and community planning, sustainable farm management, and the Fairtrade environmental requirements for small producer organisations. Follow-up sessions will include tailored training for the producer organisations’ environmental officers and organisation-specific advice on land use and conservation planning.

Fairtrade environmental requirements for small farmers focus on building producers’ capacity and promoting sustainable production practises that meet producers’ realities, while enabling them to meet the expectations of traders and consumers. Environmental topics in the Fairtrade standards are: management of production practices, environmental management, soil and water conservation, waste management, avoiding the use of genetically modified organisms, conservation of biodiversity, and energy and greenhouse gas emissions. 

As a result of the trainings, Adelberts and Huiwani are committed to incorporate conservation components into their business and operational plans; to draft land use management plans; and in the case of Adelberts Cooperative Society, to update its current land use plan. Plans will be further developed during the program’s follow-up training sessions scheduled for September. In addition to Adelberts and Huiwani, two producer organisations from Morobe Province will be incorporated into the training sessions in late July and August.    

Fairtrade ANZ’s Sustainability and Biodiversity Training is supported by the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program and the New Zealand Aid Programme, and is part of the Fairtrade services available to Pacific-based producers.  

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