Organic farming and certification of organic farms to international standards [Samoa]

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Reporting Entity: Samoa

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights: No

Completeness: 91%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

Organic farming and certification of organic farms to international standards



Reporting Entity:


Property Rights

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights:



Prevailing land use in the specified location

  • Cropland
  • Grazing land
  • Woodland
  • Uproductive land
  • Human settlement

Contribution to Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) measures

  • Prevention
  • Mitigation
  • Adaptation
  • Rehabilitation

Contribution to the strategic objectives

  • To improve the living conditions of affected populations
  • To improve the conditions of affected ecosystems
  • To generate global benefits through effective implementation of the Convention

Linkages with the other best practice themes

  • Capacity-building and awareness-raising
  • DLDD and SLM monitoring and assessment/research
  • Knowledge management and decision support
  • Policy, legislative and institutional framework
  • Funding and resource mobilization
  • Participation, collaboration and networking


Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)

Short description of the best practice

Organic farms are considered best forms of agricultural practices in working the lands in a sustainable manner and it is recognized internationally as the standard to relive and revive for people to readopt.  It is promoted in such a way so countries could return to working the land using natural organic means of promoting soil fertility than relying on modern technology such as use of fertilizers and other mechanical means.   
Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.."
—International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements|


Savaii, Upolu and Manono|

If the location has well defined boundaries, specify its extension in hectares:


Estimated population living in the location:


Brief description of the natural environment within the specified location.

Soils are mostly of volcanic origin and are generally clay and textured, free draining, porous and relatively shallow.  The parent materials of most soils is olivien basalt.  |
The topography of the islands are mainly rugged in nature with the coastline characteristically undulating in parts.  

Prevailing socio-economic conditions of those living in the location and/or nearby

The main income sources for some of the families are from employment in the private sector and some are themselves self-employed with high dependency on agriculture as backbone source of their income.  
The majority of the people own lands as freehold and customary and have exclusive rights of access and use of own land as they see fit.
The income level of most families living in locations of the project are relatively low to middle income level.    

On the basis of which criteria and/or indicator(s) (not related to The Strategy) the proposed practice and corresponding technology has been considered as 'best'?

This practice is an SLM type of technology and is highly encouraged at all fronts of agriculture for people to return to and adopt.    Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and control pests on a farm. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured fertilizers and pesticides, plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms.[1]
Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972.  |

Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice

Main problems addressed by the best practice

Heavy use of chemicals by farmers and excessie weeding|Burning of rubbish rather than mulching or composting|Large incidence of Non-communicable diseases because of poor nutrition|Move from traditional farming methods to the use of chemicals being seen as the 'new way to farm'|Lack of markets for agricultural products|Climate change and contributing factors of current farming practices

Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice

One problem is transitional problems that occur when introduce organic farming for the first time.  When changing from using conventional farming techniques to organic methods, it can take a while for the soil to adjust to the loss of chemical nourishment. Soil goes through both biological and chemical changes when the transition from chemical to organic fertilizer is made, and it can take the soil quite a while to adjust. Because of this, plants often go through a few cycles of poor yields before producing at peak capacity when transitioning from chemical based fertilizers to organic nutrition.
The best way to mitigate problems that might arise is to follow a sound nutrient management program. It's important to think about proper soil nutrition and the effects of changing from chemical to organic plant nutrition long before crop production season arrives.  |

Specify the objectives of the best practice

To encourage and enhance biological cycles within the farming system|To maintain and increase long-term fertility in soils|To use, as far as possible, renewable resources in locally organized production systems|To minimize all forms of pollution|To enable value addition at the farm gate giving the small farmers maximum benefits for their work|To enable rural families to earn an income where they live and utilize the most abundant and available resource - agriculture

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

- in order to maintain and increase long-term  fertility of soils it is highly important to promote the healthy use and proper care of water, water resources and all life therein.  This would largely help in the conservation of soil and water
To use renewable resources in a locally organized agricultural systems we need to work, as far as possible, within a closed system with regard to organic matter and nutrient elements and to work, as far as possible, with materials and substances which can be reused or recycled on farm or elsewhere|
•  to interact in a constructive and life enhancing way with all natural systems and cycles in order to encourage and enhance biological cycles within the farming system, involving micro organisms, soil flora and fauna,
plants and animals.
to give all livestock conditions of life which allow them to perform the basic aspects of their innate behaviour;
to minimize all forms of pollution that may result from agricultural practices;  | to maintain the genetic diversity of the agricultural system and its surroundings, including the protection of plant and wildlife habitats;
|to allow everyone involved in organic production and processing a quality of life conforming to the UN Human Rights Charter, to cover their basic needs and obtain an adequate return and satisfaction from their work, including a safe working environment;
|to consider the wider social and ecological impact of the farming system; to produce non-food products from renewable resources, which are fully biodegradable; to encourage organic agriculture associations to function along democratic lines and the principle of division of powers;

Short description and technical specifications of the technology

Organic farming methods combine scientific knowledge and modern technology with traditional farming practices based on thousands of years of agriculture.
In general, organic methods rely on naturally occurring biological processes, which often take place over extended periods of time, and a holistic approach. Crop diversity is a distinctive characteristic of organic farming.
Organic farming is a form of sustainable agriculture because it integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and prosperous farming communities.  
There are of course technical specificatins of the technology but this is something which can be clearly identified such as fat binding properties etc

Section 4. Institutions/actors involved (collaboration, participation, role of stakeholders)

Was the technology developed in partnership?


List the partners:

National Association for Sustainable Agriculture|Federation for Organic Agriculture Movements|Secretariat of the South Pacific Community (SPC)|Food and Agriculture Organization|Oxfam New Zealand|New Zealand Aid Programme

Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted

  • Local initiative

Although this with a national initiative, the programme is now a regional one currently in six PI Countries sharing best practices and learning from the mistakes made

Was the participation of local stakeholders, including CSOs, fostered in the development of the technology?


List local stakeholders involved:

Village Families|Farmers|Local processors|Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries|Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment|Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development

For the stakeholders listed above, specify their role in the design, introduction, use and maintenance of the technology, if any.

The village families and farmers are part of the program because they have an interest in earning an income and farming organically. Local processors especially nonu-processors have been involved because they buy the organically certificated nonu fruit from the organic farmers. Some support has been given from Government Ministries but this has been minimal and a working relationship has not been well developed. WIBDI started a green composting project within MNRE to complement the organic programme, utilizing green waste at the landfill, but this has not developed well as green waste was not separated well, and still contained foreign objects that cannot be used in composting|

Was the population living in the location and/or nearby involved in the development of the technology?


By means of what?
  • Consultation
  • Participatory approaches
  • Other (please specify)

Farmers by their commitmemnt to organic farming and putting all the processes in place for organic certification


Section 5. Contribution to impact

Describe on-site impacts (the major two impacts by category)

The coconut, coffee, nonu and cocoa industries have been revived and small exports of organically certified products are reaching international markets.|
Farmers now aware of the dangers to the enviornment of other activities like burning etc.
Many farmers no longer use chemicals and returning to traditinal ways of farming, utilizing traditional methods of managing and using land|
Maximum benefits to small farmers for their hard work
New crops have been introduced like vanilla, herbs and other vegetables, for both local and export markets|
Families farming organically are now able to have value addition at the farm gate in the form of organic and fair trade certification enabling them to earn more income
Farmers now composting and mulching instead of weeding and burning and utilizing the rich compost for fertilizing plants
Farmers have an understanding of using non-chemical based pesticides

Describe the major two off-site (i.e. not occurring in the location but in the surrounding areas) impacts

Families bordering organic farms, using paraquat spray and affecting the organic integrity of organic farms|

Impact on biodiversity and climate change

Explain the reasons:

Organic agriculture has considerable potential for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Organic agriculture in general requires less fossil fuel due to the avoidance of synthetic fertilizers. The enhanced soil fertility leads to a stabilization  of soil organic matter and in many cases to a sequestration of carbon dioxide into the soils.
Farmers have been encouraged to diversify crops and have introduced crops which actually help soil health. Composting increases moisture retention capacity of soil and crops grown on composted soil resist wilting for about two weeks longer than on soil treated with chemical fertilizer
By its nature, organic agriculture is an adaptation strategy that can be targeted at
improving the livelihoods of rural populations and those parts of societies that are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and variability; and improvements via reduced financial risk, reduced indebtedness, and increased diversity.  By its systemic character, OA is an integrative approach to adaptation, with potential also to work toward the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, in particular Goal 1 (“eradicate extreme poverty”) and Goal 7 (“ensure environmental sustainability”). The pivotal role agriculture plays in achievement of these goals and the challenges climate change poses to this task are widely acknowledged.
Organic agriculture, as an adaptation strategy to climate change and variability, is a concrete and promising option for rural communities and has additional potential as a mitigation strategy.   Adaptation and mitigation based on organic agriculture can build on well established practice because organic agriculture is a sustainable livelihood strategy with decades of use in several climate zones and under a wide range of specific local conditions.|

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?



The benefits outweigh the costs to the project, the government and businesses. Adverse impacts on the capacity of the economy to generate wealth and employment are minimized and no unnecessary regulatory burden is imposed|

Section 6. Adoption and replicability

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?



Savaii |Upolu|Manono

Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?

Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?


Specify which type of incentives:
  • Policy or regulatory incentives (for example, related to market requirements and regulations, import/export, foreign investment, research & development support, etc)
  • Financial incentives (for example, preferential rates, State aid, subsidies, cash grants, loan guarantees, etc)

Can you identify the three main conditions that led to the success of the presented best practice/technology?

The importance of farmers' organizations will make or break the success of small organic farmers.
• They allow farmers to take advantage of economies of scale through collective marketing; buyers are far more willing to deal with associations rather than a plethora of individual farmers. They reduce certification costs for individual members and certification agencies that only have to carry out sample inspections rather than inspections of all farmers.
Clearly, organic agriculture should not be considered as a panacea for reducing poverty in any environment at any time. However, in areas where conditions favour the adoption of organic agriculture by small farmers, it can provide a long-term solution to poverty, while reducing migration, and improving the health conditions and the environment for entire communities
highly motivated government who is in support of sustainable agriculture cause as is good enough for the environment and poverty alleviation elements in society and in line with MDGs
• They provide training in the basics of organic productions.
• They help monitor compliance with international standards.


In your opinion, the best practice/technology you have proposed can be replicated, although with some level of adaptation, elsewhere?


At which level?
  • Local
  • Sub-national
  • National
  • Subregional
  • Regional
  • International

Section 7. Lessons learned

Related to human resources

Organic agriculture is a technology which pools together human resources required and shall as appropriate highly strengthening and motivating the area of institutional strengthening of managing the technology.  

Related to financial aspects

Finacial aspects are highly considered important in this project in ensuring long-term success and sustainability of the technology

Related to technical aspects

The provision of technical assistance through various expertise in organic agriculture is highly crucial in ensuring that this aspect in terms of demands and need is continuing in the management consideration process.

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