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Cluster program to help export

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BRINGING together women groups that specialise in making organic coconut virgin oil for export is a sector that the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation hopes to develop.

PIPSO CEO Mereia Volavola said the organisation received requests from overseas companies interested in importing coconut virgin oil.

"We receive a lot of requests from overseas companies interested in importing coconut virgin oil but they want a container of the product with a capacity of about 13,500 litres but if you look at the way coconut virgin oil is produced in Fiji by one women group in the country, they cannot meet that demand," she said.

"But with the cluster program, we can bring all of the women groups in the country or in a province together and they can produce the same product and supply to investors."

She said PIPSO was engaging women groups to supply the organic oil to a New Zealand investor.

The Clustering Initiative is supported by the European Union's BizClim program and has been piloted in Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

"We haven't done a pilot in Fiji yet but there's keen interest and we've seen opportunities that can work using the cluster approach where we can better manage some of the production or the way some goods are produced," said Ms Volavola.

"In the Pacific, there are a lot of SMEs and this is about growing their capacity to export to other countries.

"They can work in collaboration with their own competitor so that they come together to export and meet the demand of their overseas investments.

"It may be new but when it is a win-win situation for two or three SMEs, who would want to move away from that fact."

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