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Pacific Community workshop funded by EU:

Fiji focuses on import substitution of fresh produce & expanding export market

Developing import substitutions on the export of fruit and vegetables and addressing market opportunities was on the agenda of a workshop organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) in Nadi yesterday.

The two-day discussions were part of the Improving Key Services to Agriculture (IKSA) project implemented by SPC and funded by the European Union.

According to SPC, participants discussed factors generating the selection of produce and ingredients, particularly in terms of menu design at Fiji's resorts, the 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 compliance by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and by the Ministry of Agriculture was also on the agenda.

EU Delegation for the Pacific head of co-operation Christoph Wagner said the EU was proud to finance the IKSA project, which assisted 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," he said.

"Both elements are essential to improve market opportunities for Fiji's farmers."

SPC chief adviser Patricia Sachs-Cornish said the discussions offered an excellent forum for farmers, traders and exporters to share their experiences and concerns with stakeholders.

The meeting, held at the Tanoa International Hotel, ends today.

"Together, they can work towards expanding the export market for fruit and vegetables, and explore potential import substitution opportunities," she said.

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