Potential for growth

Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd managing director Kaiming Qiu, left, and Assistant US Trade Representative Trade Policy and Economics Edward Gresser at the ginger factory in Navua yesterday. Picture: MELA KATONIVUALIKU

ONE of Fiji’s leading agricultural exporters has impressed United States Congress officials who visited their Navua ginger factory yesterday.

Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd managing director Kaiming Qiu, who first came to Fiji in 1996 from China has come a long way in establishing his ginger processing factory in 2006 after government gave him a grant of $400,000.

The factory now employs more than a hundred workers and rakes in about $F4 million from export sales of processed ginger and other root crops.

Assistant US Trade Representative Trade Policy and Economics Edward Gresser said he was very impressed with the factory.

“From our perspective as people who manage the generalized system of preferences (GSP), it is very nice to see in person the people managing the factory and thinking about US products to produce such as the sushi ginger and to do some of the manufacturing work so this is very much the sort of thing we are very happy to see,” Mr Gresser said.

“A lot of our work is done with computers and looking at strings of numbers and papers and it is very rewarding and very good for us to see it in person and face to face.”

With the factory manufacturing about 150 tonnes of organic ginger annually and with the possibility of increased production of up to 300 tonnes annually, Mr Gresser said there seemed to be a possibility of growth in this business and it was a good example of how the GSP system was put to good use.

GSP is a 45-year-old program designed by the US Congress administrations to provide duty-free treatment to goods of designated beneficiary countries.

Mr Gresser said GSP was a way US could provide some support to developing countries in smaller countries in succeeding in the US markets through waivers of tariffs.

“We have done a lot of review of Fiji’s use of GSP and ginger is one example and taro root is another example and Fiji is making use of the program within the Pacific Region.

“Fiji is definitely the largest exporter overall and the largest GSP exporter to the US. “So this is a good example of things that are happening in a number of industries in Fiji and probably can be looked at and learnt from and built upon,” he said.

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