20 March, 2018, 12:00 am
KAIMING Agro Processing Ltd managing director Kaiming Qiu says the Agricultural Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has helped him a lot in improving the agricultural market chains and the local supply chains.
“We very much benefitted from the ACIAR’s work to improve and encourage the local farmers to plant whatever the market needs.
“They also helped us out to solve some biosecurity issues when we were exporting dalo a few years back,” Mr Qiu said.
The Navua-based ginger factory owner made these comments after briefing the ACIAR delegation that visited his ginger processing factory in Navua last Tuesday.
Mr Qiu said their productivity had been quite stable over the past few years.
“We try our best to try and maintain this, not only from the marketing and production side but we also work with government on the supply chain side,” he said.
Mr Qiu said Government had increased its ginger support budget from $500,000 to $1 million this year to help ginger farmers with ginger seeds, land preparation and fertiliser.
“And because of this assistance the supply had started growing and so did the total tonnage available from Fiji.
“And out of this year’s budget $100,000 was allocated for organic ginger planting but we still need more ginger and we still need to lobby Government for more funding,” Mr Qiu said.
He said he employed about 170 staff members at the factory and most of them were women from nearby villages.
“These ladies have to find a job to support their families and put their children to school and for most of them this is their first employment.
“We have to train them at the factory, teach them how to dress, how to wash their hands, how to wear the hairnet because this factory is ISO 2000 certified and we’ve got certain standards to meet.”
On his supply side he said, about 350 individual farmers supplied their factory with ginger and a lot had signed contracts.
“We export mainly to the North American markets. We also got some market in Europe, Australia and NZ,” he said.
He said all their ginger export products were marked Fijian Made.