CERTLINK UPDATE - May 2013 -Exciting opportunit​ies for the sustainabl​e agricultur​e sector in Vanuatu

"The new source of power is not money in the hands of a few, but information in the hands of many." ~ John Naisbitt



Welcome to the first CertLink Update for 2013.


This year brings many exciting opportunities for the sustainable agriculture sector in Vanuatu and the CertLink team are enthused about the prospects.



Organic Certification Achieved

Organic Copra Price Premium Announced

Vanuatu Livestock Vision Forum – 4 June

Recent Activities


In The News

CertLink Data Insights



It has indeed been a busy time for CertLink in the first few months of 2013 so this is an action packed mail-out. We would like to thank all stakeholders, growers, businesses, departments, institutions and especially the Government of Vanuatu for their commitment and their support to achieve our mutual vision of “By 2015, Vanuatu to be lead innovator in small scale agricultural management systems…Globally”. Our designated role of assisting in the data coordination and the integration of the value chains in cocoa, coffee, coconut, cattle and climate change is highly collaborative and co-creative multi-stakeholder initiative, and our recent successes are testimony to the potential of Vanuatu Agriculture and the impact it must have in the aspirations of a “Healthy, Wealthy Vanuatu”.


The CertLink mandate is becoming more defined in discussions over the past months to currently reads: “to create online profiles, mentor and accredit 10 000 professional Vanuatu growers (from a pool of 50 000 potential commercial growers) and connect them with international markets & 10 000 customers around the world”.


The direct linkages and contracts between Vanuatu growers and international markets and customers through a platform structured on ICT for Development (ICT4D) we believe will not only assist in the creation of a foundation bringing stability, transparency and growth to Vanuatu Agriculture, but finally create a stage for the voices of the growers in Vanuatu. I have no doubt, that this is the sincere vision for all of us who know that farmers remain the backbone of the Vanuatu economy.


We thank you all again and hope you will enjoy the update… it is your success…



Organic Certification Achieved


Following on from the last update, SANMA Community Coconuts (supported by World Vision Vanuatu), COPSL and PRV Norsup & Bushmans Bay have recently been issued their certificates for Organic Certification from ACO. This means that they are now able to sell their products as certified to international organic standards and receive the price premiums that affords. Congratulations to everyone involved!


These businesses have also been receiving a plethora of media coverage thanks to a press release by Australian Organic including an article locally in theDaily Post, an interview on Radio Australia Pacific, and reaching as far afield as the EU-based Organic Market info. Links to additional coverage are at the end of this update.


More audits (Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and Organic) are anticipated to occur in coming months. If any growers or other businesses are interested in assistance from CertLink in setting up and achieving any of these certifications please contact us for further information.



Organic Copra Price Premium Announced


In AprilCoconut Oil Production Santo Ltd (COPSL) announced a price premium of up to 5000 vatu per metric tonne of high-quality certified organic copra.


Organic copra supply is anticipated to be around 1250 mt in 2013, which could increase earnings to copra producers by as much as 6 250 000 vatu per annum. Bernie Glaser, Chairman of COPSL, says ‘Export earnings for Vanuatu could potentially increase by up to 13 500 000 vatu through this organic initiative’.


Success with the pilot could lead to a significant increase in demand for organic copra and a subsequent expansion of organic certification across the islands of Vanuatu. Wayne Webb, Director of COPSL, says ‘we invite farmers from all islands to become certified in order to meet this demand, and encourage interested growers to contact VAC for support and information on organics’.


Growers interested in organic certification are invited to contactNorah Rihai at the Vanuatu Agriculture College on 775 8542 for information and support.


The project is grateful for the support of all stakeholders, especially the current Prime Minister’s Office, in supporting farmer-focused initiatives to boost livelihoods of coconut producers in Vanuatu.


Future Outlook:


Recent discussions with clients for organic coconut products from Vanuatu Origin and COPSL show the future potential for Organic Crude Coconut Oil to be around 300mt per month and 150mt for organic copra meal. To achieve this export potential, it is estimated that Vanuatu would be required to certify around 12 000 hectares of coconut plantation to supply the organic copra to COPSL for process. Initial consultations are underway to understand the potential to have North Maewo and Malo certified organic as the next steps in the expansion of the initial pilot of PRV and South Santo.



Vanuatu Livestock Vision Forum – Tuesday 4 June


Planning is underway for the Vanuatu Livestock Vision Forum, to be held in Port Vila on Tuesday 4th June - hosted by theDepartment of Livestock, supported by the Department of Trade and coordinated by CertLink. The forum will outline the Department’s vision for 500 000 head of cattle by 2025, analyse the current status of the industry, examine the potential for organic, and work to develop an action plan to achieve the Vision.


Visiting attendees will include organic beef business delegation members from AOM Group (Aus) and Elevation Group (USA). The demand for organic beef is growing at around 30% per annum and members of the delegation are working in the EU, US, Australia, the Middle East and Asia. Several recent reports –here,here and here - show that organic beef is receiving almost twice the conventional price on the Australian market.


Further event information will be made available in the coming week, and interested parties can contact theDepartment of Livestock in the interim period. Smallholder farmers in particular are encouraged to attend.



Recent Activities


With the support of World Vision Vanuatu, the SANMA Community Coconuts growers group are in the process of setting up their own program and uploading data to the CertLink system. This will enable direct connection and communication between South Santo growers and the consumers who purchase their oil. In particular, Nui Coconut are developing Australian partnerships through theDollar a Day program.


During February, CertLink participated in the Cocoa Quality, Grades and Standards Stakeholders Workshop at the Police Training College in Port Vila, organised by the Department of Industry. Norah Rihai from CertLink partner organisation Vanuatu Agriculture College presented on ‘Integrating Data for Cocoa Growers at all stages of the supply chain through to Retail Brand’ and received much interest from participants. The presentation is available for download from the CertLink website.


CertLink team members are in the process of setting up student profiles for a pilot with the Vanuatu Agriculture College. This will enable VAC to track students’ progress, communicate remotely with growers and share critical information with relevant departments. It is envisioned that use of CertLink will further enable VAC to continue playing a crucial role in agricultural teaching, education and digital extension services.


We are now also working withBougainville CocoaNet, member of the Pacific Growers Export Partnership (PGEP) and led by Ursula Rakova, to register their growers on the CertLink system and facilitate supply of cocoa to Deli Cacao Balicocoa liquor plant. Deli Cacao is a precursor to the liquor plant intended for establishment in Vanuatu during 2016 and will be sourcing product from PGEP members across the Pacific region in coming months, including Vanuatu. If you would like to discuss supplying beans to Deli Cacao please contact Andreas Lombardozzi.


The Vanuatu Department of Livestock trial is also progressing well, with an initial registration survey drafted and planning underway for data collection on Efate in coming weeks.





Norah Bulu from Vanuatu Agriculture College will be presenting on the CertLink system at the Vanuatu National Statistics Office enumerator training on 5 June 2013, and enumerators will aid in raising awareness for communities throughout Vanuatu.


Planning is also underway for a number of CertLink training events during 2013. If your organisation is interested in engaging with the CertLink data management system pleasecontact us for further details.



In the News

· Vanuatu coconuts go organic: Vanuatu is converting its largest coconut plantations to organic (Australian Organic / BFA)More coconut coverage below...

· Kava chocolate– A mix of Vanuatu’s best commodities (Daily Post)

· Organic beef price almost double conventional (Australian Organic)

· Fiji’s Rotuma island progressing towards becoming fully organic (Radio NZ)

· New standard reference on the climate mitigation potential of organic agriculture (Roundtable on Organic Ag & Climate Change)

· The CTA’sSPORE magazineCocoa Dossier reports - “With the market in full swing, governments are taking a renewed interest in cocoa.... In producer countries, public-private partnerships are trying to boost production and win niche markets. The challenge is to make markets work better for farmers while ensuring that production is more environmentally sustainable. ... just 6% of world output is certified as organic, 1% as fairtrade and about 1% Rainforest Alliance...”. Download the full e-zinehere (Sept-Oct 2012 issue; 2.5MB).

· ISEAL, whose members include IOAS, SAN/Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and Fairtrade International,have identifieda significant increase in participation in certification from cocoa farmers, and have seen mainstream commitments from leading buyers in the last few years’.

· UTZ Certified’s 2012Annual Report shows some impressive market shares, certifying 8% of worldwide coffee production and 13% of cocoa.

· What's In A Certification?- US National Public Radio examines Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certifications in the context of smallholder coffee growers


Vanuatu Coconut Certification media coverage:

· Aus Food News

· Acres Australia

· Daily Post

· BioFach News

· Sustainability Matters

· eTravel Blackboard

· Go Hospitality

· Radio Australia

· Pacific Islands Trade Invest



CertLink Data Insights – May 2013


SANMA Community Coconuts


Coconut Trees 75 252

Land Area 408.2 ha

Growers 217


Est. annual copra yield 1 072.18 mt

Organic premium 5 000 vatu / mt


Annual Organic Premium 5.36 million vatu

Group Certification Cost 0.22 million vatu


Net Organic Profit 5.14 million vatu


Net Organic Premium: 23 686 vatu per grower per year



We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions and encourage you tojoin our CertLink Public Outreach Community to keep up to date as the system develops. Please feel free contact us here, or forward the email to any interested parties.


Best wishes from the CertLink Team



CERTLINK - Innovating Vanuatu Agriculture through Data & Information Coordination.

Our Vision – “By 2015, Vanuatu to be lead innovator in small scale agricultural management systems…Globally”