Karan highlights interest here by Indian investors
Our relationship with India is strengthening – not just politically but also in terms of trade.
And a further boost to this is our Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama’s, visit to India with his strong delegation this month.
Fiji’s High Commissioner to India, Yogesh Karan, ahead of this highlighted the high level of interest for Indian investment in Fiji.
Mr Karan indicated a number of possible areas of investment generated by Indian businesses. These include trade, renewable energy, dairy industry, agriculture, tourism as well as film production.
Trade has generated a lot of interest and Mr Karan said there is a lot of curiosity in terms of what Fiji can export to India.
“But India is a very huge market and we do not have those volumes of products,” he said.
But this is where Fiji could possibly look at niche products and target certain segments in the Indian community.
Through niche product sales, we would not have to sell large volumes and the smaller volumes in fact could also fetch us higher price. This is something which is already being done with the Australian and New Zealand markets.
Mr Karan stated there are some who are interested to supply products to Fiji which would also make sense given the large Indo-Fijian community in Fiji.
Mr Karan said they are talking to a few pharmaceutical manufacturers currently.
“There has been increased interest after our Minister for Health visited India. We are very keen to pursue those discussions,” he said.
“These are very reputable companies who manufacture drugs for all parts of the world. We are looking at further discussions next two months.”
Renewable energy and agriculture
Mr Karan indicated there is keen interest from Indian investors wanting to explore the possibility of setting up a solar equipment manufacturing plant in Fiji.
These, he said, would include solar panels and solar equipment.
“I think that would be very beneficial for not only Fiji as Fiji could be the manufacturing hub and we supply the solar equipment to all parts of the Pacific,” he said.
Another area where Indian investors are keen to invest in Fiji are the agriculture and dairy sectors.
Mr Karan said the potential investors were asking about land availability and pricing as their planned projects would be at big scale.
For the dairy industry, he said some had expressed interest towards a turnkey solution where they would set up a full plant for dairy production and hand over the keys.
Tourism and hotel
Meanwhile, our booming tourism industry has not been missed by some potential investors who are now enquiring with the High Commission in New Delhi on this.
Mr Karan said there has been interest in knowing more about our tourism industry, potential for the industry as well as availability of land.
An investment in the tourism industry by an Indian firm could mean increased Indian tourists because of the large amount of marketing which the company could afford tying up with its own chain in India.
Then also what India is most famous for – Bollywood and film production.
The opening of Fiji’s High Commission Office in Mumbai has led to discussions with some big banners wanting to shoot the films in Fiji, Mr Karan said.
However, certain constraints, which our Government and stakeholders already understand, remain.
One has to do with the long flight and some producers asking for first class seats when some airlines flying between the route do not offer first class seat, Mr Karan said.
Secondly is the cost of equipment.
“I have been told that Fiji is a beautiful destination and we want to film in Fiji but the cost of bringing equipment and the availability of skilled people is another cost,” he said.
The third cost he said was bringing specialised technicians.
Mr Karan said should something go wrong with the camera – this equipment is worth millions of dollars; and they need highly-skilled technical professionals to manage it.
“The cost of bringing the camera is already so costly. So they have requested if Fiji is able to have those equipment here, then all they have to do is fly their film crew here and not fly the technical equipment,” he said.
Mr Karan said he has explained that the film industry in Fiji is not that big and the Fiji National University is trying to address some of the issues.
“I hope in time we are able to provide those sophisticated equipment,” he said.
“But I can understand too – if our local companies do invest such money in such equipment, then they must get a return on their investment.”
- Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya
- Agriculture Minister, Inia Seruiratu
- Minister for Women, Poverty Alleviatio and Social Welfare, Rosy Akbar
- Investment Fiji chairman, Truman Bradley