Farmers, traders, exporters discuss import substitution


SPC Chief Adviser, Patricia Sachs Cornish

A two-day workshop on developing import substitution on exports of fruit and vegetables and addressing market opportunities opened in Nadi today. The workshop is organised by the Improving Key Services to Agriculture (IKSA) project, implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) and funded by the European Union (EU).

Participants will discuss factors generating the selection of produce and ingredients, particularly in terms of menu design at Fiji’s resorts; trading of local produce and the ability to meet the demands of resorts, as well as production models used to grow produce for timely and reliable local supply.

Discussions on accessing new export markets, improving the compliance of farmers and exporters through quality controls on exported fruit and vegetables and monitoring of compliance by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and by the Ministry of Agriculture will also be on the agenda.

The Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner said, “The European Union is proud to finance initiatives such as the IKSA project that assists farmers with practical support. To complement the support to improve the supply side of agriculture production, through the enhanced research and extension services for nursery and farmer development, the IKSA project is, through this workshop, addressing the demand side.  Both elements are essential to improve market opportunities for Fiji's farmers."

Speaking on behalf of SPC, Chief Adviser Patricia Sachs Cornish said, ““This workshop offers an excellent forum for farmers, traders and exporters to share their experiences and concerns with stakeholders. Together, they can work towards expanding the export market for fruit and vegetables, and explore potential import substitution opportunities.”

Taxation, customs, investment incentives and support mechanisms for exporters as well as balancing the intended growth of fruit and vegetable exports from Fiji will also be important themes at the workshop. Discussions will also focus on the competitiveness of local produce, quality and price for import substitution or export. [ENDS]

The IKSA project has been working to improve and enhance agricultural services to allow sugarcane farmers to increase on-farm incomes by enhancing their supply capacities through assisting with access to seed, seedlings and farm inputs, provision of practical training through farm demonstration plots and communications, and linkages to markets. The IKSA project will run until June 2018 and is working closely with the Fiji Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, to strengthen research and extension services and to enhance support services to farmers in Fiji’s sugarcane belt area to cushion the economic and social impacts of the restructuring of the sugar industry.

IKSA is one of several projects implemented by SPC and financed by the EU in Fiji’s sugarcane belt. These projects are linked to the EU’s Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) programme and aim to help strengthen rural sugar-income dependent communities in response to the EU’s Sugar Price Reform and the adverse conditions in the sugar industry. The AMSP programme is designed to improve the livelihoods of sugarcane dependent populations, increase income and reduce poverty.

Media contacts:
Debbie Singh, SPC Sugar Projects Communications Specialist │ Email: [email protected]