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EU support for coffee industry

Monika Singh
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

THE European Union, through its increasing agricultural commodities trade (IACT) project, has assisted Bula Coffee with the acquisition of a mobile coffee processing machine, nursery structures and irrigation equipment worth $72,000.

EU political, trade, press and information section's press and information officer Mohammed Nazeem Kasim said the EU was proud to support the coffee value chain in Fiji and confirmed that the new nurseries would provide coffee seedlings for farmers on both Vili Levu and Vanua Levu.

In response to questions on the potential for the local coffee industry, Mr Kasim said the mobile wet coffee processor would provide tangible benefits to both Bula Coffee and to farmers on Vanua Levu.

He said the EU believed Bula Coffee would be able to secure and expand its coffee beans supply, thereby helping the young company increase its coffee production and hopefully unlock new export markets.

Farmers in remote areas will now be able to enter a promising new value chain by supplying coffee cherries, which previously were often left unharvested.

With the right kind of support, the EU is positive that initially, Fiji might begin replacing coffee imports with locally grown coffee.

It said in the future, there might be an opportunity to develop a niche coffee export industry.

Mr Kasim said under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement between Fiji and the EU, coffee exports to the EU were duty-free.

He said the IACT project was an EU-funded and Pacific Community (SPC) implemented project aimed at developing agricultural commodity trade in the Pacific.

Between 2001 and March 2017 the project assisted 41 small and medium-sized enterprises, 10 of which are located in Fiji, in strengthening their value chains.

Mr Kasim said after the devastation caused by TC Winston, the IACT project assisted the recovery of farmers and enterprises in the productive sector.

According to information provided by the Delegation of the European Union in the Pacific, several sectors were supported.

About 10 small businesses were also supported under the IACT project.

Mr Kasim said the IACT project had come to a close.

He said the IACT project provided substantial assistance to the region for increasing agricultural commodity trade and the total project budget was 8.5 million euro ($F20m) (of which $F4,300,000 was allocated to the recovery following TC Winston).

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