THERE is a lack of pearl spat in the North, says Fisheries Department project officer Nacanieli Bola.
Speaking to government officials at the World Poverty Eradication Day celebrations in Natewa on Wednesday, Mr Bola encouraged pearl farmers to cultivate spat.
"The initial stages of farming pearls begin with the growing of oyster shells and this is known as spat collection," he said.
"At the moment we have five groups in the Cakaudrove Province who are involved in spat farming.
"The drawbacks that we have in our attempts are the prices of the material for growing spats, which is really expensive."
Mr Bola said the materials were bought from New Zealand because they were not produced locally.
"Our most successful projects include projects in Navunievu and Tavulomo villages within Bua Province. These are headed by women's groups.
"The pearl industry is a thriving industry and Fiji has potential in the commercial production of pearls for overseas markets."