Call to use fresh local produce

THE 2nd Contemporary Island Cuisine workshop will help to address issues of sustainable tourism by expanding the backward and forward economic linkages by training our local chefs and promoting the use of locally grown products for their menus, says acting deputy secretary for agriculture development Jone Sovalawa.

Mr Sovalawa was at the opening of the workshop organised by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade at the Beach House along the Coral Coast on Monday. He urged the chefs from resorts around the country to promote fresh local produce through its use in their hotel menus.

“I wish to acknowledge the support from the tourism industry and local hotel representatives present for assisting Government’s effort in strengthening market access for our local food into the tourism sector.

“Culinary or food tourism is a growing tourism niche market and visitors to this market are always happy to spend their money on unique dishes, be it traditional or with a contemporary Fijian twist and a well presented Fijian dish with its tasty flavour will always be appreciated,” said Mr Sovalawa.

According to a government statement the week-long workshop is being conducted under the guidance of Pacific Islands Resort Consultants renowned chefs Colin Chung and Greg Cornwall.

Meanwhile Mr Sovalawa said increasing arrivals would increase demand on local food that tourists wanted, therefore this presented opportunities to the local farmers, fishermen and ranchers to meet the growing demand for fruits, vegetables and local cuisine.

“Farmers are encouraged to plant and supply Fiji’s tourism industry with local agricultural products, indigenous fruits and organic vegetables and thus generate local income for their livelihoods and communities.

“We’re confident that you will apply the week’s lessons to improving your hotel menus and most importantly to grow and utilise more local food in your hotel menus.”

Participating chefs also heard that the Ministry of Agriculture would continue its effort to address issues of food importation and trade imbalances.

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