SUNBIZ

Atoll Islands Paves Way For PhD Student’s Kava Business

Arunesh Chand set out to study climate change. Instead he saw opportunities and launched what is now a thriving business. In 2013, Mr Chand, a University of the South Pacific
11 May 2015 10:36
Atoll Islands Paves Way For PhD Student’s Kava Business
Kava off to New Zealand....From left: Royal Global Marketing Distributors (NZ) Ltd MD Jai Prakash, Sailax Shipping & Freight Forwarding MD Suresh Mani and A1 Kava & Spices Dealers owner Arunesh Chand. Photo: RANOBA BAOA

Arunesh Chand set out to study climate change. Instead he saw opportunities and launched what is now a thriving business.

In 2013, Mr Chand, a University of the South Pacific PhD student who was beginning his thesis on climate change in Kiribati and Tuvalu found his business opportunity in these two islands.

Mr Chand was carrying out a comparative analysis on the climate change-vulnerable atoll nations when he saw a growing population of kava consumption there.

Tonnes of kava were exported to the atoll nations to meet the demand of those who had developed a thirst for the Fijian traditional drink.

And it was for this reason and with the motivation and blessing he got from his in-laws which lead him to start a kava exporting business.

“I thought to myself- why not try this while I’m doing my paper?”

And so began a journey for the Labasa man who knew nothing about business, let alone exporting. He sent his first consignment to Tuvalu which he laughed about when he recalled.

“I had no idea of what to do! It was a case of trial and error phase. Most of the first consignment was damaged by the time it got to its destination.

“It went bad because it wasn’t vacuum-packed. I didn’t know which type of plastic to use.

“And neither did I know how to do freighting. We didn’t make a loss but there was no profit.”

After learning from this, he sent a second lot and this time to Kiribati. He had learnt a lot from the initial shipment and had found it to be thrilling and rewarding all the same.

He sources kava from the farmers around Vanua Levu but mostly from Saqani Village in Macuata, close to Labasa Town.

Then Mr Chand found new export products.

The demand for Indian spices to had found an emerging market in these islands and it was here that A1 Kava & Spice Dealer starting becoming established.

An initial investment in 2013 was $20,000. And then he moved on to find a permanent office and warehouse which he invested $50,000 in Labasa.

And for any Small & Medium Enterprise, the need to look into avenues to doing buisness became a yearn for the man who had now established a name in Tuvalu and Kiribati.

Mr Chand wanted to find a new market that could see his portfolio extend further.

And what better way to find this than in trade shows.

He struck a partnership with Royal Global Marketing Distributors (NZ) Ltd to send kava to New Zealand.

If this works out he will send his spices too.

His first 100 kg of A1 Kava left for New Zealand over the weekend.

And better yet, he will be sending a massive 500kg in two weeks time.

He is sending this through NZ-based Sailax Shipping & Freight Forwarding Ltd.

He hopes this will eventually add to his customer base and churn not only his business but make a contribution in the economy.

When asked of just what he plans to do next, Mr Chand said he hopes to invest in another $100,000 so that he controls the chain of production right down to transporting to the airport or shipping port.

“I have given proposals to Government and financial assistance agencies and hope to get a confirmation in the not-too-distant-future.”

Business is doing well and his thesis, he says is in the process of completion.

Feedback: ranobab@fijisun.com.fj

 

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: