Island News

Gauging the strength of pawpaw production in Fiji

Written By : SAMANTHA RINA. SPC recently held a workshop to gauge the interest in Pawpaw production for Fiji and overseas markets. The Fiji Sun’s Samantha Rina asked questions on
01 Aug 2009 12:00

Written By : SAMANTHA RINA. SPC recently held a workshop to gauge the interest in Pawpaw production for Fiji and overseas markets. The Fiji Sun’s Samantha Rina asked questions on the future of the product

What inspired the workshop?
Sugarcane price will be falling drastically when the EU preferential price is pulled out hence farmers will need alternative source of income. Papaya is identified to be one such crop if managed well.
However we cannot just plant and start exporting we need to find out how much is required in overseas and in which countries? Whether we have quarantine protocols in place for export.
Fortunately Fiji has Bilateral Quarantine arrangement for papaya in NZ, Australia and Japan and is on the verge of getting USA protocol done.

Who were the stakeholders that put together the workshop?
In view of that the Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project engaged Kokosiga as its consultant to conduct market study in NZ, AUST, USA and Japan.
The Australian Govt through its ACIAR project has also started a 4 year Fiji Papaya Project and the shortcomings identified from the FACT sponsored market study will be addressed during this project.
Stake holders are, Fiji Ministry of Agriculture, SPC, ACIAR, Farmers, and Exporters.

What were the objectives of the workshop?
Present the findings of the report to Fiji Stake holders and regional counterparts (Tonga, Cooks and Samoa.)

As far as the SPC is concerned, how does it view the level of papaya farming in Fiji?
On a larger scale, how does the SPC view papaya farming in the Pacific region?
SPC under its Land resource Division has been working with its 22 member countries and states in various agricultural related projects and under its European Union FACT project it is taking a generic, industry wide approach to working with and assisting promising export industries fair-trade and organic certified produce.

How has SPC assisted in the development of papaya farming in Fiji and the region?
The FACT project funded Market study in four major countries have revealed the market potential, threats and the shortfalls of Fiji and other countries in the region. Tonga and Cook Islands are also looking at Papaya export so through this study market requirements were established.
The study will enable all countries to address their issues concerning export which is quality, consistent supply and competitive price.
What were the results of the workshop that took place a few weeks ago?
Please state the conclusions and outcomes of the discussions that took place at the workshop.
The workshop was basically to present the findings of the market study and launch the ACIAR -Fiji Papaya Project.

What does SPC hope to achieve for the future of papaya farming in Fiji?
Under FACT project we are also looking at value adding of papaya in terms of drying. We understand that not all papaya will be exported, from the leftover; some will be sold in local markets including municipal and Hotel industry especially around major tourist Industry.
But there is also potential to dry papaya and FACT is collaborating very closely with FRIENDs Fiji in setting up three fruit drier around Fiji. 2 driers will be set up in Western Division and one in North as we understand that exporting papaya from North is quite difficult so we try to present an opportunity for northern farmers in fruit drying and this can replace the junk food as healthy snacks especially in our school canteens. These three driers are funded by FACT project.

Any further comments or clarifications?
The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project aims to assist in turning selected commercial ventures and producer groups in the Pacific Islands into export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agricultural and forestry products.
The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji Islands, and turned one year old in May 2009.
The case studies generated will be used by SPC and others to disseminate information to the wider community. FACT is also taking a generic, industry-wide approach to working with and assisting promising export industries such as value-added coconut products, cocoa, papaya, fair trade and organic certified produce, and novel exports such as bamboo products.
By value adding the products from Pacific, more income will be generated thus making the Agriculture and Forestry industry more lucrative.
It will create more employment and will assist in poverty alleviation.
Further incorporating the Fair trade will ensure that the primary producers get the best return for their labour and with organics we try to address the issues of climatic change.
Work with nature to strike a balance. Adopting organic farming will enable higher returns and lower cost of production.

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