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Ranadi Plantation Works With North Farmers For Organic Ginger

Ranadi Plantation Works With North Farmers For Organic Ginger
Organic ginger farmers (from left) Bill, Betty and Washington Simpson with Ranadi Plantation chief executive, Jodi Smith and staff member, Ajay Nand, in Wainunu. Photo: RANADI PLANTATION
August 15
08:41 2015

Ranadi Plantation’s efforts to produce organic ginger for export has led to a new partnership with farmers in the North.

Farmers from Wainunu have formed an association to supply the revitalised Pacific Harbour-based Ranadi Plantation. They are getting a premium price for this.

The ginger is initially being used as seeds by Ranadi Plantation and in turn then exported.

However, it is anticipated by next year, the farmers will be growing enough to supply for seeds as well as exports.

Selling the organic ginger locally in Suva used to fetch the farmers $0.70 per kilogram (also taking into account transportation cost which then use to drop to around $0.50 per kg).

But now, by selling the organic ginger to Ranadi Plantation, the farmers get $2.05 per kg which comes to around $1.70 per kg after taking our transportation cost.

This is still more than double the price from selling it in Suva.

Ranadi Plantation chief executive, Jodi Smith, was brought in three years ago to turnaround the company and look for ways to expand.

She said the first thing she did was have the company organic certified.

Aside from their traditional business of growing lemon, lime, spices, vanilla and turmeric, Ms Smith introduced ginger organic ginger which is for exports to Australia and New Zealand in frozen form.

Because of the high demand for organic ginger, there were plans to expand into the US, Europe and Japanese market.

“But we can’t supply our market which is why we wanted to partner with some of the farmers,” she said.

 

Developing relationship

Ginger farming in the North, let alone organic, is not so common.

Association representative and farmer, Washington Daniel Simpson, said ginger farming has not been done in the North on a large scale and in fact there is very little planting.

He said they are the only large scale ginger farmers on Vanua Levu and have urged for Government support in whatever means possible.

He is confident all the farmers in Wainunu would come on board with organic ginger plantations.

Ms Smith said what they are looking at doing together over the long term is working to develop the farmers’ business.

“This would be so that eventually, say within two to three years, they will be able to purchase their own truck,” she said.

“So this is not just us buying from a group of farmers. This is very much a partnership where we will be assisting with their business, helping them decide what they need to buy when they need to buy.”

Ranadi Plantation representatives went to Wainunu on Wednesday to give some basic training to the farmers.

“We are going to give them training every two to three months just to see how they are going. Also we will be assisting in getting full organic certification for them as well,” Ms Smith said.

 

Exports and processing

Currently, Ranadi Plantation exports around 50 tonnes of organic ginger.

But from next year, Ms Smith said they are looking at a minimum of 100 tonnes of exports.

“This year we have had to buy some non-organic because we can’t get any certified organic ginger in Fiji right now,” she said.

Ranadi plantation sells fresh products and it sells frozen products.

By next year, Ms Smith said they are looking at moving into other value added products.

“So ultimately we are looking at sending things that are frozen or processed which will mean that biosecurity measures aren’t an issue for us,” she said.

“We haven’t installed the processing machine yet but we have someone doing feasibility study.

“But we are looking at creating value added products. We are hoping we will have the processing facility up and running by this time next year.”

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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