FIJI’S AGRICULTURE EXPORT SHOWS POTENTIAL

As COVID-19 pandemic created serious impediments for businesses globally and locally, many experts feared that the global food supplies might start running short, especially if supply chains were disrupted. The pandemic has therefore greatly added to the uncertainty of the business operation.

Although on average agricultural businesses experienced some declines, exports of some agricultural products in Fiji held strong and even increased, implying the essential demand for Fijian grown products in international markets even during the pandemic.

According to data from Fiji Bureau of Statistics, Fiji’s agriculture exports in 2020 when compared to 2019 showed notable increases in Kava, Turmeric, Coconut(copra) oil, Ginger and Taro.

Kava is Fiji’s top agriculture export commodity and in 2020, Fiji’s kava exports increased by around FJ$11million (34%), with major increases in countries such as the United States, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Hawaii, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna.

In 2020, Fiji exported kava to markets such as Guam, Poland and United Arab Emirates having not done so in 2019. Fiji is one of the world’s main producers of kava with the powdered root exported all over the world for use in pharmaceuticals such as capsules and extracts and for drinking by mostly the Pacific Island diaspora.

Fiji also exported ginger to Germany in the same year, having not exported there in 2019.

Similarly, turmeric exports also increased by aroundFJ$7.7 million (118%) in 2020 with major increases in exports to the United States, Canada, Netherlands and Australia. During 2020, Fiji also exported turmeric to United Arab Emirates which was not previously done in 2019.

The turmeric powder market is mainly segmented into food and beverage, pharmaceutical & health supplements and cosmetics and it is expected that the current dominance of the non-organic segment would diminish as supply of organic turmeric rises.

Fiji exports coconut (copra) oil to many countries and in 2020, Fiji’s coconut oil exports increased byFJ$2.3 million (87%) when compared to 2019. The largest increase was to Malaysia, followed by the United States and New Caledonia.

In 2020, Fiji also exported coconut oil to American Samoa, not having done so in 2019.Ginger has always been a strong export commodity for Fiji and its increase in export by FJ$2.7 million (207%) in2020 is a testament to that. Major increases were to Australia, New Zealand and Netherlands.

Fiji’s taro exports in 2020 increased by almost FJ$2million (8%), with notable increases in export to New Zealand, Australia and the United States. In comparison to 2019, Fiji’s sugar exports in 2020increased by FJ$4 million (4%). This is due to an increase to the United States, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand and an almost three-fold increase in exports to Great Britain. Fiji also began exporting sugar to Papua New Guinea, not having done so in2019.

The Acting Chief Executive Officer of Investment, Mr. Kamal Chetty said Investment Fiji has been rigorously promoting agricultural exporters through Global Trade Expo Series which targets international markets.

“In the coming weeks, we will be launching a new campaign on Information Series for our exporters. This new initiative would also include a webinar on the Exporter Guide which our team will host for emerging exporters who are keen on learning the basics of exporting.”

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