By NED GAGAHE
A team comprising of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET), Bio Security Division and leading cassava exporters in the country, Varivao Holdings and Sape Farm are in Fiji for a look and learn visit.
The team is led by Nigel Devi of the External Trade division within the MFAET.
Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji Joseph Ma’ahanua told Island Sun in an email yesterday, that the Key focus of the visit is to speak and learn how farmers and commodity producers get their produce ready for export markets.
Commissioner Maahanua said in particular, exchange of ideas on how small farm producers in Fiji are able to work together and collaborate with Biosecurity authorities to prepare farm produce for export.
For organizations such as External Trade, Biosecurity, Varivao and Sape farm, Commissioner Maahanua said the visit is important as a learning experience.
“It is limited in participation due to it is merely involving beneficiaries of the Enhanced Integrated Framework, (EIF) ECAT Project that is managed by MFAET.
The team is currently in Fiji visiting farms in Suva and Nadi.
“Its scope however, is wider because it is a learning exercise for the farm producers but in particular for Biosecurity it can offer a model which can be localized for use in Solomon Islands exporter needs. The idea is to learn for preparations of local export to export their produce in this case cassava and kava, but in a more broader context for other products as well.” Maahanua said.
Meanwhile, the visit is funded as part of the EIF ECAT Project managed by MFAET.
According to Commissioner Maahanua the project is currently implementing trade development nationally, but it specifically supports cassava and taro development for exports.
It has supported Goshen for taro and Varivao for cassava exports. SAPE Farm was a beneficiary of support from MFAET through tractors supplied under funding from People’s Republic of China (PRC).