SUNBIZ

Organic Industry Looks Positive

Organic farming could grow to be­ing a major contributor to Fiji’s economy while at the same time be­ing grown to improving people’s health. Jon Manhire, managing director of the AgriBusiness
19 Dec 2018 11:32
Organic Industry Looks Positive

Organic farming could grow to be­ing a major contributor to Fiji’s economy while at the same time be­ing grown to improving people’s health.

Jon Manhire, managing director of the AgriBusiness Group in New Zealand made the comments following the opening of a two day workshop on the Consultation on Development of Organic Agriculture in Fiji at FRIEND in Tuvu, Ba yesterday.

Mr Manhire has also been tasked by Gov­ernment to draw up strategies and poli­cies on the development of the organic in­dustry in Fiji.

There seems to be a real interest from the organic community in Fiji and Gov­ernment ministries to develop policies to grow the organic sector in Fiji.

People see some real opportunities in that which was trade and also contribut­ing to improving people’s health, welfare and livelihood.

Mr Manhire said in comparison to other Pacific countries, Fiji’s organic farming had grown and was much bigger.

“It can grow even more.

“Even though organic is growing it is still a minor land use here in Fiji and un­til it becomes a major land use industry, it will then make a significant improvement to health and the economy.

“One of the exciting issues I had been hearing is that some whole islands in Fiji have become organic and this means eat­ing better and a much better economic situation.”

The organic industry was also becoming a part of Fiji’s tourism industry.

Mr Manhire said he had spoken to some tourist operators and there was a niche market for visitors who are here and pre­fer eating organic food.

“These people have been eating organic food at home and they want to do the same here.

“These people may pay a bit more to go to those resorts that offer organic food.”

He said the market for resorts was quite complex as there were the high level re­sorts and the low budget accommodation.

“Actually there are a lot of backpackers and young people who are interested in this area.”

Mr Manhire said the feedback from growers and exporters or organic food and government was that there was a positive outlook for this industry.

“I think the future of organic food and in­dustry here in Fiji was going to be good.”

As for the completion of the draft policy, Mr Manhire said he hoped to have it fin­ished by end of January 2019.

“The implementation and approval after that was entirely up to the Government.”

At present there was about 15,000 being used for organic farming and the main thing was working with farmers on the benefits of growing organic food.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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