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Produce export business normal

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, April 21, 2017

THE produce export business has almost normalised more than a year after the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston, says Nature's Way Co-operative Ltd CEO Michael Brown.

"Tropical Cyclone Winston was followed by a major flooding event in April which brought the industry almost to a standstill," he said.

"With assistance from New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we began a rehabilitation program.

"Our program involved direct support for farmers and exporters in a way that was fair, equitable and ensured a high success rate."

Mr Brown said as a result of the program, farmers and exporter members have returned to normal production and exports.

"Papaya exports have recently resumed after nearly 12 months of being absent from this market.

"NWC has averaged 48 tonnes of export produce per month for the first 3 months of 2017 which is nearly equal to the volumes being exported prior to TC Winston."

NWC is a quarantine treatment and packing facility owned by more than 300 farmers and exporters based in the Western Division of Fiji.

He said NWC was working to further strengthen the resiliency of its farmer and exporter members through a holistic approach that accepted the fact that disasters will continue to happen, whether it be cyclones, floods or droughts.

"Disasters are a part of our reality in Agriculture and we must be proactive in preparing our farms and businesses for this eventuality."

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