Homegrown ideas to boost sales of local produce


<p style="text-align: justify;">Fiji’s Agricultural Marketing Authority, a statutory body tasked with marketing locally grown produce that cannot be exported, has developed a weekly road sale. <!--more-->Export surplus produce is made available at affordable prices to locals instead of dumping or destroying it.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The campaign starts this week as one of the initiatives of the ‘Buy Fijian Made’ month (People will be encouraged to buy Fiji made goods, fresh produce and services through various promotions in December, which has been designated the ‘Buy Fiji Made’ month).</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">“We sell export rejects for cassava and dalo at reduced prices. We also sell other commodities like home grown honey, local potatoes, vegetables and sometimes coconuts,” The Authority’s marketing manager Alivereti Yaya said. The road sale will be conducted weekly at competitive prices.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Mr Yaya hastens to explain that while the word “reject” might sound negative, the fact is that commodities for export must be of highest quality to meet international standards.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The dalo and cassava are sourced from farmers in the interior of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Koro, Gau and Kadavu – mostly places where growers do not have an easy access to markets.
“The role of the Agricultural Marketing Authority is to market agricultural produce for farmers who do not have easy access to markets.” Mr Yaya said.

<p style="text-align: justify;">Farmers who want the organisation in selling their produce are invited to contact its offices in Nausori, Nabouwalu, Savusavu and Taveuni
. “We will then arrange pick up the commodities and compensate farmers at the farm gate at very competitive prices,” Mr Yaya has said.

<p style="text-align: justify;">(The roadside markets are held along the roads in Nausori, Suva, Lami and Veisari corridors in what essentially are Fiji’s urban areas). For more information on these roadside markets email losalini.tamani@ama.com.fj</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Meanwhile, Esava Tuimoala, the agriculture officer from Cakaudrove in Vanua Levu has said there is potential for the provincial council there to start its own dalo export company. Several dalo exporters have well-established links with farmers in the province, which according to the council provides room for competition on dalo prices.</p>
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