Shine A Light

Shine A Light: Plans To Build Turmeric, Ginger Markets

The Ministry of Agriculture has big plans to grow the export markets for turmeric and ginger.
27 Mar 2023 16:50
Shine A Light: Plans To Build Turmeric, Ginger Markets
Local ginger farmers at work at Nakoro Village, Navosa in 2019.

 The Ministry of Agriculture has big plans to grow the export markets for turmeric and ginger.

Minister for Agriculture Vatimi Rayalu said the ministry’s focus was to concentrate on developing Fiji’s export market by moving from traditional markets to new markets.

“This includes markets for turmeric and ginger,” he said.



Data released by the ministry indicated that in 2021 Fiji exported over 2300 tonnes of turmeric and over 1250 tonnes of ginger respectively.

These two agricultural export products had a combined export value of $53.2 million.

The data further revealed that in the five years from 2017 to 2021, the export value of turmeric grew by 61 per cent.

This growth made turmeric the nation’s third most valuable export in 2021, behind kava and taro respectively.

While the traditional market for  kava grew by 26 per cent, this was closely followed by the new market product of ginger.

The export value for ginger experienced 24 per cent growth in those same five years.

Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product with both commercial and subsistence farming.

Around 27 per cent of Fiji’s population derive their livelihood from agriculture.

To put this into perspective, approximately more than 250,000 Fijians use agriculture as their main form of income.

But Mr Rayalu knows that there are inevitable challenges that plague the industry, almost on an annual basis.



The major challenge is the lack of youths taking up farming to replace farmers who are aging.

As well, rural-to-urban migration has impacted the number of skilled labourers available.

Overall, the agricultural sector makes up 8.2 per cent of Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Agriculture (excluding sugarcane) also makes up 11 per cent of Fiji’s total overall domestic exports.

Therefore, it is vital to ensure that as one of the backbones of the nation’s economy, the sector continues to receive adequate investment.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, private investment in the sector remained steady from 2017 to date. Whereas Government investment in the sector has been on a declining trajectory in a similar timeframe, decreasing from $99 million in 2017 to currently around $60 million.

Other challenges include natural disasters and competition by other sectors for good arable land for agriculture. 


Four-year plan

Fiji currently imports around 80 per cent of its raw material for livestock feed production, Mr Rayalu said.

Moving forward, the Minister hopes his ministry can work to resource more local production and farming in Fiji.

“The Ministry will work with commercial livestock operations in establishing contract-based farms… and will divert more resources in increasing local milk production,” he said.

The ministry is currently working on crop zoning.

This, Mr Rayalu said, would maximisze returns by establishing vertically integrated production and a profitable industry in varied geo-location.


Export markets

In 2021, Fiji’s top five markets for export value of agricultural products were the United States of America, New Zealand, Australia, Vanuatu, and Samoa. In total, these five markets contributed $203.3 million to the total value of crop and livestock export.

While these markets resulted in the most export value for Fiji, destinations like Tonga also contributed to increasing the export quantity of Fiji’s crop and livestock products.

This demonstrates the variety present in Fiji’s export markets.

“In 2021 alone, Fiji exported agricultural products to 52 countries,” Mr Rayalu said.

Regarding imports, in 2021 the total value of crop and livestock imports amounted to $786.7 million. 


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