Ben’s Trading is a root-crop exporter that has been in operation since 2006. The company has grown significantly and is now the largest taro exporter and most influential player in the taro industry in Fiji. Ben’s Trading primarily exports root-crops such as taro and cassava. They source from all over Fiji with an extensive network of farmers, primarily from Taveuni (60% of its current exports) in addition to other islands around Fiji. Ben’s Trading exports to markets in Australia, NZ, and the USA, and is looking to continue expanding by gaining access to new markets in Australia and NZ.
A critical prerequisite to this is achieving Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification. Some assistance towards HACCP compliance has been provided by other development partners, and MDF is also contributing to this effort. HACCP compliance will lead to increased export customers and orders and therefore a greater demand for taro in Fiji. As one of the largest buyers, Ben’s Trading is well placed to work with farmers to improve the quality and increase quantity of the taro they produce, leading to greater sales volumes and income.
To support this, MDF is contributing towards improving Ben’s Trading business and sourcing management to handle the expansion of the business once sales volumes and demand increase. MDF is helping the company to establish private extension services, to ensure that it is able to source increased volumes of improved quality taro in line with international requirements.