SUNBIZ

Leading The Agri-Tourism Charge

Most people, including visi­tors to Denarau Island in Nadi, would never guess there was a thriving farm nearby.
13 Aug 2022 13:42
Leading The Agri-Tourism Charge
A chef at the Westin farm. Photo: Sheraton Fiji

Most people, including visi­tors to Denarau Island in Nadi, would never guess there was a thriving farm nearby.

Post pandemic, establishing Agri-Tourism linkages in Fiji is impor­tant to reduce food costs for hotels and resorts whilst boosting Fiji’s food system that also affords guests an authentic culinary visitor expe­rience through the integration of local fresh produce.

Nestled between the Heineken House and Denarau Golf Course lies an oasis of fresh Fijian produce that is evolving as it integrates or­ganic farming techniques for herbs and vegetables followed by the tree planting initiative that will include Fiji’s native and fruit trees for a symbiotic ecosystem.

The Denarau Farm started in 2009 with just a half-acre of land that has now grown to a size of 5hec­tares and is managed by 4 dedicat­ed staff.

To cater for hotel demands across the Marriott International Fiji properties on Denarau Island, the farm is expected to produce more than 600kg – 700kg of fruits and vegetables and herbs.

The farm harvests seasonal pro­duce including baby carrots, okra, chillies, tomatoes, cauliflower, gua­vas, pawpaw and pineapples, and employs its own experienced coco­nut tree climber to manage the 400 coconuts a week that are grown and subsequently enjoyed by guests of the resorts.

Denarau farm. Photo: Sheraton Fiji

Denarau farm. Photo: Sheraton Fiji

 

Plans are in place to install a per­manent biogas system that can convert more than 20kg of organic waste producing more than 1,000 litres of gas to power the farm’s onsite BBQ for cooking and ad­ditionally, more than 20litres of dense rich liquid compost which provides nutrients to the herbs and vegetables grown on-site.

The initiatives show Marriott In­ternational Fiji Resorts’ dedication to reducing their carbon footprint, minimizing their reliance on im­ported produce, and living up to their culinary mantra of ‘Go Lo­cal’.

And they’re not alone in their ef­forts as many other resorts around the country have invested in the communities nearby or their own managed farms, with some invest­ing in both.

In previous chef training initia­tives, local chefs have been given the rare opportunity to train un­der Chef Colin Chung of “Kana Vinaka” cookbook fame using lo­cally sourced produce from the sur­rounding areas.

The learning expe­rience always lifted confidence and skill levels. Many local chefs noted after the exposure, that it provided them with innovative perspectives on how local produce can be made so much more exciting from menu planning to deliver the dishes.

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Farmers also got to see how their produce was integrated into the food supply chain whilst local chefs explored Fiji’s gastronomic de­lights that aren’t seen often enough around the country.

With the Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture also recognizing this potential, collaborations with industry stakeholders like the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) and Tourism Fiji focusing on the wide variety of cuisine op­tions is vital; Fiji should be able to position Food Tourism as another potential visitor experience that has wide- ranging opportunities for farmers, supply chains and hospi­tality workers.

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj



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