New Fiji chip factory creates jobs, boosts exports


Wairiki Chip Mill, a new pinewood chip facility on Fiji’s Vanua Levu Island inaugurated earlier this month, has created some 150 jobs to facilitate exports of the first shipment of pinewood chips to Japan in June this year.<!--more-->

With this activity, Vanua Levu, which is part of the country’s relatively poorly developed Northern Division, opens itself to the direct export of merchandise shipped directly from its own port. This is a first for Vanua Levu.

The mill will benefit pine tree-owning communities in and around Bua on the island. The opening of the Wairiki Saw Mill is part of the Fiji Government’s “Look North” policy, targeted toward boosting economic growth and employment in the Northern Division.

Though pinewood exports are not new, trees were transported to the chip mill in Lautoka in the western part of the main island of Viti Levu before being shipped overseas. The new mill will therefore creates both employment opportunities and raises the potential for ancillary industries in Vanua Levu.

The new mill that employs modern technology will operate 12 hours a day with an output reported to be three times more than the mill in Drasa, Lautoka, which operates 24 hours.