Sharing MDF Fiji’s experiences at the Agribusiness Forum
Reshika Kumar of MDF presenting at the Agri-business forum in Nadi

Reshika Kumar of MDF presenting at the Pacific Agri-business forum in Nadi (Photo courtesy from Chris Addison)

Linking the Agrifood sector to the tourism related markets is a key strategic area MDF focuses on in Fiji and we shared our experiences at Pacific Agribusiness Forum in Denarau, in early July.

The Pacific Regional Forum is a week-long event organized by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Pacific Agriculture Policy Program (PAPP) and Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO).

The event was attended by around 100 experts representing the private sector, farmers organisations, policy-makers, research networks, development practitioners and international organisations. Selected organisations from the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean were also present and shared their experiences from their similar regions, as well as delegates from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

A major focus of the Forum involved finding ways to boost agribusiness by linking local production to the rapidly developing and growing tourism industry. The meeting hoped to address how to fill knowledge and data gaps in the agribusiness sector and will identify the support needed to strengthen links between the various actors in the value chain – small-scale farmers, processors, finance institutions and  the tourism and hospitality sector.

One of the biggest challenges with small agribusinesses that supply to the tourism industry are tight cash flows that can result from late payments from hotels. Supply also continues to be a challenge. This is compounded by weak information channels and access to affordable quality agricultural inputs.  Agribusinesses face high investment costs to upgrade facilities and train staff associated with achieving international compliance standards often required by the hospitality sector such as Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).

MDF is working with agribusinesses with the view to leverage change in these areas of constraint.  MDF’s partners, The Crab Company, Farmboy and Southern Solutions also participated and shared their experiences in overcoming some of these challenges faced by companies in this sector. Adi Chocolates and The Crab Company also had a booth each at the forum to showcase their products.