The Niue Island Organic Farmers Association, otherwise known as NIOFA, held its Annual General Meeting last Wednesday at the old Fale Fono building at Sialekula, Alofi.
According to newly elected chairperson of the NIOFA executive committee Jamal Talagi-Veidreyaki, this was their first AGM in a while.
Jamal said “this was mainly due to the association going through a restructure, relearning and basically reviewing the whole position of NIOFA and how the association can add value to Niue’s agriculture sector and economy as a whole, particularly in an environment that has changed significantly since it was first established twenty years ago.”
A new executive committee for NIOFA was also elected who will be working together for the next three years.
This includes Chairperson Jamal Talagi-Veidreyaki, Deputy Chairperson Kenneth Green, Secretary Pamela Tongiakona, Treasurer Hatesa Hetutu and Committee Members included Lavaligi Mokalei, Ioane Mamaia, and Collin Etuata.
Some of the key discussions held at the meeting were centred around the impacts of agriculture chemicals on soil, underground water source and human health.
More than thirty participants attended the meeting which heard from POETCom Steven Hazzelman as he presented his research presentation on the impacts of agriculture chemicals on human health and detailed the unjust system of companies that develop these products and those that validate its safety to be sold in the market.
Jamal said “although there is currently no research carried out on the island to look into this situation, NIOFA acknowledges the many concerns voiced by the people, particularly from farmers and members of the community under the consultations led by the Ridge to Reef project.”
Jamal said there is a need for stronger support to progress understanding of organic, ethical and sustainable farming and conservation of wilderness in Niue and she looks forward to working together with her committee to create stronger partnerships with key stakeholders and to make a clear strategic way forward for sustainable livelihoods.