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Fijian businesses benefit from upswing in trade with New Zealand and Australia

Merewai Durutalo

Small businesses say more exports are helping their communities in Fiji.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Fijian businesses say exporting their goods internationally is benefitting their communities and families.

High brand Fijian skincare labels Nama Fiji and Loloma Fiji are among those businesses who are taking advantage of an upswing in exports to New Zealand and Australia.

“We are a proud Fijian business and it is fulfilling to be able to elevate a Fijian brand through the creation of Loloma,” says Purnima Singh, the Director of Loloma Fiji.

“We have been able to build and strengthen an agricultural supply chain.”

Managing Director of beauty products company Nama Fiji, Debra Sadranu, says that showcasing their products increases sales.

“Spas who do treatments with our brand are instantly showcasing the effects and benefits of the products which then generates interest and sales.

“This costs us nothing. However training the spas for product knowledge and treatment protocols is crucial.”

New Zealand and Australia are Fiji’s second and third largest export destinations, according to Fiji’s Trade Commissioner for Australia Daniel Stows.

He says there has been a 16 per cent increase in facilitated exports by the Trade Commission from Fiji to Australia and New Zealand in the past year.

An estimated $73 million was gained and they aim to see a further 20 per cent increase this year.

Stows says the relationship Fiji shares with Australia and New Zealand has arguably never been closer as there has never been a better time to do business with one another.

“The Fiji ‘brand’ is very strong and is synonymous with quality, sustainability & uniquely different.

“Strong demand for high-quality, niche products is seeing emerging commodities come out of Fiji such as ginger, turmeric, kava & coconut oil along with more traditional crops including dalo and cassava.”

But there are also challenges for Fijian businesses.

Agricultural exporters such as Happy Valley says the challenge is to find genuine customers who actually pay them.

“I have had bad experiences with customers who purchased from us and just did not pay,” says Happy Valley owner Poonam Nandani.

“This put a lot of financial stress on the business as my vegetables are both produced on our farms as well as procured from local farmers.”

Stows also says New Zealand and Australia also have varying high biosecurity standards and conditions for goods coming in from overseas, particularly fresh agricultural products, which can be challenging.

He says that this is not only crucial for their company and staff but also for the local women harvesters who are reliant on their supply contracts to earn much needed revenue for their villages and families.

Nandani says selling products in New Zealand and Australia brings real benefits to their families and communities.

“It has meant an improved disposable income for my family.

“The farmers from whom I buy vegetables are able to get a better price as compared to selling in the local market.”

Debra Sadranu, the Managing Director for Nama Fiji agrees:

“This is crucial not only for our company and staff but also for our women harvesters who are reliant on our supply contracts to earn much needed revenue for their village and families.”

Hero Image: Small businesses say more exports to New Zealand and Australia are helping their communities and families in Fiji.

Photo/Facebook/Fiji Consulate General & Trade Commission Australia & New Zealand

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