The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a True Pacific quality mark to increase the reach of Pacific exports into New Zealand.

The Pacific Cooperation Foundation has created a quality assurance programme and a quality mark, called True Pacific, to enable Pacific producers to better promote their goods and penetrate new markets.

The True Pacific quality mark aims to increase confidence in Pacific products by positively influencing the perceptions of New Zealand consumers, traders and retailers.

PCF is an independent public/private partnership based in New Zealand with the mission of benefiting the people of the Pacific by increasing cooperation and promoting economic development in the region.

SPC Deputy Director-General Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu and PCF Chief Executive Officer Markerita Poutasi signed the MOU at SPC's regional office in Suva, Fiji.

According to Ms 'Utoikamanu, 'The True Pacific brand developed by PCF will boost confidence of New Zealand consumers in associated products and have economic benefits for Pacific Island communities, farmers and their families. The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade Project, which is implemented by SPC, worked to forge this exciting new partnership between PCF and SPC.'

Ms Poutasi said, 'The Pacific Islands have an abundance of superb products, but many never leave their home shores. True Pacific is about making quality Pacific products and business success stories accessible. It's about creating a perception shift.'

Later this month PCF will be awarding successful producers their True Pacific licences, with products being revealed to New Zealand consumers in September during the week of the Pacific Sector Showcase in Auckland.

SPC is a Pacific-based international intergovernmental organisation that assists the Pacific Islands countries and territories by delivering a wide range of technical, research, educational and planning services. It has 26 members comprising 22 Pacific Islands countries and territories and four metropolitan members, Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States of America.