Herbex’s core business is the production and export of noni fruit-based products. The company has diversified its production to include noni juice, noni capsules, noni soap, noni face cream and body lotion to cater to a growing overseas market. Herbex is the only HACCP and organic certified noni producing company in Fiji. Its product is classified under the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) and Canadian Organic certification, which enables it to access more export markets. Herbex exports noni pulp to China, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Korea and South Africa. Herbex sources the majority of its commodities from the Ra to Lautoka corridor.
Noni is a widely grown fruit, abundant in supply and generally picked by women who bring them on public transport or hired carriers to the processing facility where they are graded and processed. The fruit has a delicate nature, similar to strawberry with a very soft skin. Unfortunately it has a short shelf life and has to be processed quickly after picking. Supply is often hindered by cost and/or absence of transport and suppliers see this as a key constraint for consistent supply especially when the collected volume is low and anticipated income barely covers transportation costs. Further, about 15% of the collected fruits are rejected due to mishandling during transportation.
MDF is partnering with Herbex to enable them to achieve farm-gate pickups allowing the company to have a consistent supply for the growing market. In addition, MDF will provide plastic crates to assist in reducing post-harvest losses during transportation. Herbex has agreed to train two staff in post-harvest handling and educate the fruit pickers on grading and sorting of fruits as per quality requirements. Through the above assistance, suppliers will save transportation costs from farm-gate pick-ups. Suppliers will also reduce handling losses with the use of appropriate plastic crates and increase their income for good quality fruits. As a result suppliers will be incentivised to increase sourcing more noni fruits for commercial purposes.