Globalization has taken the world by storm so it’s no surprise that Pacific goods are hitting the shelves of shops everywhere. And why shouldn’t our locally, home grown, artisan goods make it into overseas homes? If anything, we’ve got the potential to offer consumers the most exceptional products from tasty condiments and spices to unparalleled, creative artisan pieces. No longer is the Pacific only known as the ‘ultimate island getaway’. Today, the world’s seeing the Pacific in a new light where people are now relishing in its superior array of products. Thanks to quality assurance programmes like True Pacific, Pacific-made products are now on the global supermarket.
The True Pacific programme is an initiative of the New Zealand-based, non-profit organisation Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF). PCF created this programme in September 2011 and since then it has allowed countless Pacific producers to have their products compete on the global market. By meeting the rigorous assessment criteria, producers obtain a license to show the True Pacific quality mark. The quality mark is a golden stamp of approval indicating that a product is high-end and produced through ‘effective systems in place’.
It goes without saying that this amazing programme has helped businesses grow through beneficial partnerships, the provision of best practice expertise and valuable networks. Ultimately, True Pacific has given the Pacific one more thing to be proud of and that’s exotic, creative and top-notch products.
No one knows this feeling all too well than the former manager of True Pacific, Frances Hartnell. A New Zealander of Pacific Island descent, Hartnell has played a huge role in the economic development of True Pacific and has seen firsthand how Pacific businesses have had their products mature in time.
“I believe wholeheartedly in Pacific exports being offered worldwide especially if they enter the True Pacific programme and receive the quality assurance trademark. This process sets the businesses to provide quality products and over time the trademark will be recognized by other countries,” said Hartnell.
Hartnell added that the pathway for products to grow is long. Thus patience, continual improvement of products, keeping ahead of consumers’ requirements, long-term vision and the utilization of the expertise of successful organizations are required. So the True Pacific pathway isn’t as easy as it sounds and producers do have their fair share of problems with freight being one of the biggest. The challenges however have brought producers together with some having shared freight costs to send their products overseas.
Challenges or not, it’s wonderful to see Pacific-made products making a hit. True Pacific certified products like Pure Fiji will leave you feeling rejuvenated with their coconut body butters, conditioners, scrubs and oil. Or if you like abit of spice in your kai then the Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce is perfect for you. And for that flawless cup of Joe, you can’t go wrong with Papua New Guinea’s very own Banz Kofi.
While True Pacific has been a beacon for countless Pacific producers, it too needs assistance. After four years of running, the programme has been put on hold due to lack of funding.
“Due to funding concerns the programme has been placed on hold. True Pacific requires funding to ensure that it reaches the phase that is required to establish a firm foundation [so that] many more producers are keen to develop the products that the world consumers require,” explained Hartnell.
Although True Pacific is in hiatus, we can still keep the momentum going. You and I can help by buying the array of Pacific products at our disposal. When we buy locally produced goods, we’re empowering them to become better, high-end goods. Because let’s face it, happiness is homemade.