The food processing sector in Fiji has growth potential for increasing exports – mainly to the Pacific market. Australia, New Zealand and US markets are big market opportunities for Fiji food products, but have higher barriers to entry. It is important that companies in Fiji have enhanced ability to tap into new export markets and made possible through aquiring international accreditations (ISO, HACCP, organic and fair trade certifications), product development combined with enhanced visibility in target markets. Opportunities also remain untapped for Fiji to enter into high value niche markets, particularly for semi-processed and processed local produce. However, these are constrained by lack of internal capacity (access to skills and the right type of equipment) which requires significant financial commitment by exporters.
Wallson Foods is a food processing company which currently employs around 50 full-time workers (75% of whom are women). The core products of the company are a range of chicken and lamb sausages and tomato sauce sold under ‘Wallsons’ brand. MDF’s partnership with Wallson Foods involves product diversification which would enable it to move swiftly to capitalise on new market potentials. With this, economic opportunities would be created for the local women and men at the factory and farm level. Overall Fiji can respond to potential in the growing Pacific market for processed food items. With Wallson Foods’ growth, other similar businesses will be encouraged to expand their product portfolios, including use of local produce resulting in more economic diversification for exports.