New Zealand and Australia rank as Fiji's second and third-largest export destinations, according to Fiji's Trade Commissioner for Australia, Daniel Stows. Over the past year, there has been a notable 16% increase in facilitated exports from Fiji to Australia and New Zealand, generating an estimated $73 million. The Trade Commission aims for a further 20% increase in exports this year. Stows highlights the strong relationship between Fiji and Australia/New Zealand, emphasizing the positive perception of the "Fiji brand," known for quality, sustainability, and uniqueness.
The demand for high-quality, niche products from Fiji has led to the emergence of commodities such as ginger, turmeric, kava, and coconut oil, alongside traditional crops like dalo and cassava. However, Fijian businesses face challenges, including the need to find reliable customers who pay promptly. Some exporters, like Happy Valley, have experienced financial stress due to non-payment by customers.
Stows also notes that New Zealand and Australia have stringent biosecurity standards and conditions for imported goods, particularly fresh agricultural products, posing challenges for Fijian exporters. Meeting these standards is crucial for the livelihoods of local women harvesters who rely on supply contracts for their income. Despite the challenges, selling products in New Zealand and Australia brings tangible benefits to Fijian families and communities, leading to improved disposable income and better prices for farmers.