BIOSECURITY of Fiji (BAF) chief executive officer Elvis Silvestrini last week announced New Zealand has agreed to improve conditions for pineapple exports from Fiji to New Zealand.
Now pineapple exporters in Fiji can resume exporting fresh pineapples to New Zealand.
Already, the pineapple industry in Fiji is quite vibrant with the bulk of the supplies being targeted at the tourism sector, hotels and resorts.
With New Zealand agreeing to now open up the market for Fiji is a major boost to our local pineapple farmers and all those involved in the industry.
Since 2009, even farmers on the island of Taveuni were supplying 800-900kg of pineapples per week for the hotel chains in Nadi and the Coral Coast.
Many other farms are scattered around Fiji from the Salad Bowl along the Valley Rd in Nadroga, Dawasamu in Tailevu, to certain pockets in Nadi and Ba.
The Fiji Export Council is now advising all those who grow and plan to export pineapples to New Zealand to be familiar with the Systems Approach Pathway, which has been developed by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji under which pineapples can then be exported to New Zealand.
The Systems Approach Pathway involves the following:
* Grower and site registration pineapple farmers and exporters are registered and given registration numbers. The production area is verified and a map of the farm is developed. Farmers are also required to have grading, inspection and storage facilities and also have proper transportation to pack houses.
* Field control measures farmers are required to maintain filed hygiene and are regularly advised on crop management practices such as weed control.
* Exporter/pack house harvested fruits are sorted and packed at packing houses approved by BAF. Biosecurity officers examine the daily purchasing dockets supplied by exporters to ensure that fruits are purchased only from registered growers. Biosecurity officers then undertake a thorough inspection of a 600-unit sample on grower-line basis and record the details after the pack house staff have completed their grading and inspection. BAF then certifies the exact weight and number of fruits for shipment inspected and transported.
* Phytosanitary certificate after being satisfied that all pre-export procedures and pathway have been successfully followed. BAF issues an International Phytosanitary Certificate covering each shipment cleared for export. Printouts of treatments and additional declarations are also attached to the pytosanitary certificate.
BAF formally audits export pathways to ensure all exporters comply with New Zealand import requirements.
Only three varieties of pineapples can be exported. These are Rippley Queen, Smooth Cayenne and Via Mama.
"This is good news for our local growers as now they have an alternative market for their produce ie New Zealand. Exporting to New Zealand will not only mean more money for the farmers but also foreign exchange for the country and growth for economy," said Mr Silvestrini.
"We would like to encourage pineapples farmers to take advantage of this opportunity. They can also seek assistance from BAF to know more about requirements of exporting fresh pineapples to New Zealand."
Natures Way's Michael Brown says the opportunity for pineapple exports to NZ is good for our local growers who need to "link themselves to exporters who seriously consider this venture as lucrative because the competitive edge we have is taste and quality".
FEC is happy to provide budding pineapple farmers with export advice while BAF is also available to create more awareness on this new systems approach pathway.
* This contribution is from the Fiji Export Council.