Australia’s oldest organic certification authority last week has completed a training programme that it hopes will help support the fledgling organic sector in developing nations.
The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (Nasaa) had invited organic inspectors from Fiji, Solomon Islands and three indigenous people representing the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara and Arnhem Lands to learn practices commonly used by Nasaa officials.
General Manager Ben Copeman said the association was committed to achieving social justice outcomes that delivered real and tangible benefits to remote and developing regions.
“The training is designed to reduce the cost of certification within developing communities, empowering locals to take control of their industry and to create employment,” he said.
“The aim is to ultimately help to create sustainable, locally-owned businesses that will deliver long term economic benefits for remote, rural or underdeveloped indigenous communities in Australia and neighbouring Pacific countries.”
Organic inspectors serve as the eyes and ears of producers, and examine the process of organic production, processing and handling by a business seeking organic certification. Their work includes inspecting farms, horticultural land and livestock, as well as buildings and equipment, contamination risks, pest management, and sales and production records.
“With no official training programmes available through further education or other government providers [in Australia], our training provides opportunities for people to develop a career as an organic inspector or provide a strong background understanding for employment in other services in the industry,” Copeman added.
“Nasaa is Australia’s longest serving organic certifier and is committed to developing the organic industry both in Australia and internationally, including in remote communities and developing nations.
“In addition to the inspector’s technical knowledge, the training will also help develop organisational skills for coordinating inspections and travel preparations, oral communication skills and written communication skills for drafting reports.
“For organic producers and business owners, the training helps participants to better understand the role that standards and auditing plays in providing integrity to the certification system.”