Resort goes local

Organic vegetables on a stand at a farmers market. Picture: rebootwithjoe.com

FIJI’s biggest resort, Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa, purchases more than 70 per cent of fresh produce locally with an average purchase of 23,000 kilograms of pawpaw and 52,000 kilograms of watermelon each year and the list goes on for various things such as bananas and local seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa communications manager Lata Yaqona revealed this during the launch of From the Farm to the Tourist’s Table – A Study of Fresh Produce Demand From Fiji’s Hotels and Resorts at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Tuesday.

“The bulk of these 70 per cent of fresh produce we try to buy from suppliers within our district and local farmers from the valley,” Ms Yaqona said.

“We don’t just have one single supplier that can give us what we need.”

With seven restaurants (one being the staff restaurant) and six bars operating across the resort, Ms Lata said one could imagine the mammoth task their chef and purchasing team had in meeting their guest demands.

Ms Lata said the resort had a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy committee in operation since 2007.

She said the committee looked at CSR Policy key focus areas at the resort which dealt with ethical practises that their food and local produce suppliers also had to sign and adhere to.

“From week to week there is constant dialogue between our chefs and suppliers regarding what we want on a daily basis.

“Constant supply is very challenging and we have had situations where for example we have ordered capsicums locally and we are let down the last minute,” Ms Lata said.

Ms Lata said the resort also had to consider other factors such as grading, the quality and the post-harvest handling of produce by the suppliers.

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