Value-Added Potential in the Garden Island
Yanuyanu Ltd on the Garden Island of Taveuni, owned by German national Robert Glowatzki and his Italian wife Lucilla Chiericati, are promoting Fiji’s agriculture through value-added food products. The company invested $1.8 million into the business with employment of 15 locals, mostly from the nearby villages and has taught them skills and techniques for organic farming.
The couple, residing in Fiji for the past 6 years setup a factory to make ice cream using exotic fruits such as Soursop, Passion fruit, Vudi and various other locally grown products. The uniqueness of their products captured the interest of locals and tourists. The company is in the process of acquiring organic certification in anticipation of opening up to the export market.
The idea for Yanuyanu Ltd was born out of the observation that despite being the Garden Island of Fiji, the rich volcanic soils that cover Taveuni were used mainly to grow Dalo and Kava and the couple wanted to use this rich resource to produce a variety of organic agriculture produce.
Lucilla, coming from Italy which has one of the richest "food cultures" in the world saw the potential to produce locally made food products from the various fruits and spices that could be grown on the island.
“From the beginning we have taken our responsibility not only to give jobs to Fijians but also to educate by example: Organic Agriculture is the future - it is just a technique that can be learned.
We are happy to show some of those techniques to our farming neighbors here on the island and are proud that we have already convinced a few of our local farming friends to leave the chemicals behind and embrace a fully organic approach to their farms, ”said Lucilla.
The couple is constantly researching and developing new ideas for products focusing on the local market to showcase the true potential of each crop grown.
Robert explains as an example; ginger that is harvested is first washed and then sorted; A-quality is going to the supermarkets and sold as fresh ginger; B-quality value-added as either ginger tea, ginger powder, ginger juice or used as flavoring for other products.
"Sales are limited for the time being - COVID being the limiting factor - tough times for all the businesses in Fiji including Yanuyanu Ltd.
But we have a very positive perspective for the future - we get positive feedback for our products from the resorts and restaurants hereon Taveuni and the neighboring islands and many of them will use/sell our products once tourism starts again. ”Robert stated they have made many new market connections during the last difficult 18month - all of them local.
"This way we are able to offer a wide range of high quality products demonstrating the true potential of Taveuni's Agriculture.
Our goal is to show Taveuni on the culinary map, famous not only for its world-class diving and hiking but for its extraordinary flavors and foods.
”We are very excited to see tourism start again. As we take the raw produce/fruit and through processing add value to it, we believe with the production of high quality ,organic products made in Taveuni we can add value to the brand "Taveuni" - we hope that we can prove the big potential for this "brand": Taveuni, the Garden Island of Fiji.
”Some new products planned by the company include coffee grown on the island to produce a small amount of 100% organic and freshly roasted high-quality coffee.
The company is also processing Cocoa to produce "Cocoa Nibs" due to interest from local upscale resorts.
“We are looking forward to expand the processing to make some more products from the local cocoa(drinking cacao, cocoa husk tea, chocolate spread etc).
Since there are many abandoned cocoa plantations around the neighboring villages of Naselesele and Weilagi, we are able to give an incentive to the local farmers to revitalize those Cocoa trees and make them produce an extra income for their families.
“We have decided to make our business grow more "organically" and concentrate on Taveuni and the neighboring islands and eventually to reach Savusavu and Suva and outside Fiji.
”Robert added they are excited to welcome visitors back to the island with some of the products that would surprise even the most food savvy traveller.
Investment Fiji has been working with the company since 2015 when they registered their business in Fiji. Mr. Robert commended Investment Fiji’s efforts in assisting the company to set up and operate in Fiji.
“Investment Fiji’s Labasa office has been assisting with advice and connection for local market as well as when we are ready for international exports".