Increase in eggplant export

Written By : Source: MINISTRY OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES . The chief executive officer, Nature’s Way Co-operative (Fiji) Limited (NWC), Michael Finau Brown is calling on farmers to grow and supply
03 Jun 2011 12:00

image Written By : Source: MINISTRY OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES . The chief executive officer, Nature’s Way Co-operative (Fiji) Limited (NWC), Michael Finau Brown is calling on farmers to grow and supply quality eggplants for export because the demand is increasing.
NWC provides high temperature forced air (HTFA) mandatory quarantine treatment to exporters to treat produce which are hosts to fruit flies.
Mr Brown says farmers should make the best use of this opportunity and grow quality eggplants which meet the requirements for the export markets.
There has been an increase in the export of eggplants over the last five years.
Last year NWC exported 538.2 tonnes of eggplant to New Zealand, which represented an increase of 18 per cent or 100.1 tonnes from the 438.1 tonnes exported in 2009.
As of of May this year NWC had treated 152.5 tonnes of eggplant for the New Zealand market.
“There was an increase in the export of eggplants, however, the prolonged wet weather during the first quarter of this year had affected the production but as good weather prevails the production will be normal,” Mr Brown said.
New Zealand is the major importer of eggplant from Fiji and the demand is high when the local supply in NZ drops during winter.
“But the demand for Fiji grown eggplant drops as their local production of eggplants comes into season.
“However, the niche market comprising of Fijian population and the Asians still like the Long Purple variety to the round Black Beauty preferred by the Europeans.”
NWC treats eggplant for exporters who currently buy at $1.16 per kilogram at the farm gate. The price of eggplant falls when the supply is abundant.
The main growers are from Sigatoka Valley, Nadi and Lautoka areas and supply to exporters who treat the produce under the HTFA before exporting to New Zealand.
Agriculture officer Uma Deo Sharma said farmers managed to supply for the export market, despite the wet weather, .
“We are encouraging farmers to grow what the exporters want by following the proper cultural practices for higher yield and proper quantity and quality of eggplants for export,” Mr Sharma said.
“By following the proper cultural practices such as planting recommended varieties, soil types, timely fertilizer application, post harvest handling, transportation and treatment before packaging will all ensure quality produce.”
Farmers who produce eggplants for the New Zealand market should register their farms under the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement.
This is to ensure that their produce meets the New Zealand quarantine and health requirements as required under the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement.
“Once registered under BQA, the farmer has to spray the farm with protein bait every week to control fruits flies, under the supervision of Extension Officer,” said Mr. Sharma.
Farmers should also seek assistance from their Agricultural Officers so that their farms meet all quarantine requirements for exports.

Pig industry – fast developing
in the North

The Agriculture Department has recently set up a pig multiplication breeding centre in Saqani which is hoped to supply good breeds of pigs to the tikina’s of Vaturova, Tunuloa, Natewa, Saqani in Cakaudrove as well as Udu in Macuata.
The pig multiplication breeding centre is set up in Vuniwai Village in Saqani and already has three sows that are expected to produce 20 piglets in the next four months which is a cross-breed of the Large White and Duroc breed.
The Senior Agriculture Officer for the Animal Health and Production Division in the North, Maikali Drauna said this was the first time there was an agricultural project for the tikina of Saqani.
The people there have been tasked to look after it so that there are good breeds of pigs that can be sold to farmers in and around Saqani.
“The project is owned by the two yavusas of Vuniwai Village in Saqani who have been assisted by the Agriculture Department through Government’s Import Substitution Program or Food security programme.”
More training and awareness will be conducted in the other tikinas in Cakaudrove to help them learn and understand the importance of running their projects as a business.
“Participants are taught the proper care for their animals as well as preparing supplementary feeds for their pigs since their villages are far off from the main towns.”
Supplementary feeds like cassava, kumala, coconut as well as leafy vegetables can assist greatly in the proper growth and care for pigs in the rural and outer islands.
The pig multiplication breeding centre in Saqani is linked to the Koronivia Research Station in Nausori so that they are advised accordingly on the proper care and nurture of the animals till they are ready for the market.
Mr Drauna said that with the developing pig industry in the Northern Division, an abattoir could be opened by next year to cater for pig farmers on a commercial basis.
He said the pig industry for Vanua Levu farmers holds a lot of promise as the informal or magiti market is growing every year.
“The construction of the slaughter house is in fact part of the Vanua Levu Development Plan and we are hoping to construct the house in a suitable location where farmers could bring in their animals for slaughter and sell carcass meat on a commercial level,” explained Drauna.
“According to the preliminary census report that is yet to be finalized, we have a total of 17,000 pigs and the number is growing every day in the North,” said Drauna.
“Currently farmers in the North are selling their boars at $700 if the animal is huge in size as well as the sows and the price for the middle sized pigs are around $350 to $400,” said Mr Drauna.
“So pig farming is a great income generating project and many farmers in the North have taken advantage of this fast developing industry,” explained Drauna.
Trainings and awareness programmes have been carried out in parts of Vanua Levu and according to Drauna, farmers are taught the technicalities of pig farming especially in the proper management areas.

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