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First bele shipment sails out

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, November 29, 2012

FIJI sent its first consignment of fresh bele (Fijian spinach) to New Zealand last weekend.

This came after New Zealand recently approved market access for export of fresh bele from Fiji to New Zealand.

Describing the new market access for bele as another feat for Fiji's agricultural exports, Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) chief executive officer Elvis Silvestrini said 2012 had been an exceptionally good year for the country as far as new markets for fresh produce were concerned.

"In April this year, New Zealand agreed to improved conditions for pineapple exports from Fiji to New Zealand and since then pineapple export to New Zealand has been going on exceptionally well," he said in a statement.

"Now we have the market access for fresh bele to New Zealand, which is a wonderful achievement for Fiji," he said.

Mr Silvestrini said bele exports would not only bring benefits for the farming communities and their families but would also boost Fiji's agricultural exports and bring in more foreign exchange.

He also urged farmers to take advantage of this new opportunity and grow more bele for exports.

New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries's senior adviser on Pacific market access fresh produce, Nacanieli Waqa, is in the country to assist BAF and fresh produce exporters in complying with biosecurity requirements. He said there was a huge market for bele in New Zealand particularly among people suffering from diabetes.