Fiji farmer group achieves first commercial tomato shipment

20/10/2013

<p style="text-align: justify;">A new participatory guarantee systems (PGS) farmers group from Qereqere on the West Bank – Sigatoka, has achieved its first commercial shipment of tomatoes to the Shangri-La Resort and Spa in Fiji and received forty per cent more money for their produce due to its quality and presentation, reports the PARDI (Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative) newsletter.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Formed through the PARDI PGS vegetable project, the group has worked with PARDI researchers in recent months to implement value chain improvements and post harvest quality systems that enable them to ensure their crops meet defined quality standards such as reliable freshness, minimal damage and professional packaging.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">According to PARDI researcher, Rob Erskine-Smith, “The Qereqere group rose to the occasion and delivered an impressive shipment of ten 15kg crates of tomatoes for which they were suitably rewarded.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The first commercial shipment of tomatoes is a great achievement for the West Bank farmers and one PARDI. Further assistance into the future will be needed to help local industries build capacity and establish strong trading practices.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">PARDI researchers hope to see this success replicated by other farmer groups in the region. PGS vegetable research under the banner of PARDI is a partnership involving AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, the University of the Sunshine Coast, local farmers and government representatives.</p>