His Excellency Launches 3 Milestone Projects for TTFB
ACCREDITATION OF ORGANIC ROTUMA AND ROTUMAN PUBLICATION ‘RAK LA FAEAG ROTUAM’ LAUNCHED TODAY BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT OF FIJI, MAJOR GENERAL (RETIRED) JIOJE KONROTE
The President of Fiji, Major General (Retired) Jioje Konousi Konrote today launched the Accreditation of Organic Rotuma and the Rotuman publication ‘Rak La Faeag Rotuam’ at a luncheon event at Suva’s Holiday Inn.
ORGANIC ROTUMA JOURNEY
In 2011, the Council of Rotuma endorsed a proposal to ban the use of chemicals on farms which would actually come into effect by the first quarter of the following year. This timeframe allowed farmers to use up any leftover stock. By 2012, farmers were encouraged to stop the use of chemical herbicides.
Last year in August, an iTaukei Trust Fund Board (TTFB) team visited Rotuma to carry out a scoping exercise and needs assessment. This was carried out in consultation and collaboration with the Council of Rotuma and relevant government departments. Outcomes from this visit helped develop the groundwork for organic certification of the island of Rotuma.
This year in March, a team comprising of TTFB, SPC and Matanataki visited Rotuma to conduct a three-day workshop training on Participant Guarantee System (PGS) for organic certification. The TTFB funded training was facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management and conducted by SPC’s Land Resources Division-POETcom technical team and Matanataki.
The workshop training was attended by forty participants including chiefs and growers, both women and youths, from Rotuma’s seven districts. The objective of the workshop was to start certifying land lots around the island and gradually expand allowing development stakeholders to properly manage waste in order to comply with the organic standards towards PGS certification for the whole island.
Key towards this certification process was to conduct the PGS which covered all facets of the organic process. The visiting SPC technical team, in their ground survey, brought back to Viti Levu a total of eleven files on farms for evaluation. Of this, nine farms satisfied the standards for organic land certification and thus, were eligible for organic registration. This then led to the certification of the brand “Organic Rotuma”.
In their findings, Rotuma has the potential to engage in organic pollinated seed production for business. The intention is that interested organic certified farmers be trained on the standard procedures for organic pollinated seed production and to get the facilities for seed processing particularly a high value packing and storage system to allow producers to have a fixed contract with government on organic pollinated seed supply.
More discussions with the Council of Rotuma are expected in the areas of identifying the organic product to start off with including possible healthy value adding products.
RAK LA FAEAG ROTUAM
The book Rak La Faeag Rotuam is authored by retired Teacher and Educator Ms Fauoro Titifanue. A language teacher for almost forty years, Mrs Titifanue teaches and shares her love for her mother-tongue as a hobby. She is passionate about sharing her Rotuman language that she teaches it to anyone willing to learn.
The book Rak La Faeag Rotuam is a long time coming and it has been a labour of love for her.
In 2012, UNESCO deemed the Rotuman language as endangered and it seems all the more fitting to be launching this language resource today. The book is a simple-to-follow-and-understand Rotuman language book ideal for anyone willing to learn the language at any age.
The book will be available for sale via the iTaukei Trust Fund Board’s website or via the ShopOnline purchasing platform. This is primarily for Rotuman diaspora communities around the globe wanting to learn and share their mother-tongue.