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Vegetable export to surpass 2011 mark

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, January 25, 2014

PAPAYA and eggplant exports are back on track and could exceed the 2011 record output, says Nature's Way Cooperative CEO Michael Brown.

The head of the Nadi-based produce farmers co-op said although export quantities were still not up to record numbers produced in 2011, work was steadily progressing to increase tonnage.

"Our papaya and eggplant exports dropped by nearly 50 per cent in 2012 and 2013 from a record of 1300 tonnes in 2011," Mr Brown said.

"This was a direct result of the two devastating floods in early 2012 and Tropical Cyclone Evan in December 2013.

"Both our farmer and exporter members have suffered major losses over the past few years."

Mr Brown said that after the disasters, the co-op provided assistance to its members in the form of cash grants, seedlings and other inputs.

Nature's Way also provided a treatment charge rebate to exporter members — to help them get back into business as quickly as possible.

"The 2012 natural disasters really impacted on the industry and in 2013 we only managed total exports of all produce of 700 tonnes.

"However, if we do not have any natural disaster this year and the weather remains favourable then we could be looking at close to 1800 tonnes of exports in total."

Nature's Way is located beside the Nadi International Airport and provides chemical-free quarantine treatment needed to export crops.

The co-op has been in existence since 1996 and has a total membership of 250 farmers.

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