Stakeholders to update vegetable and fruit chart

Fruits and vegetables at the Suva Market. Picture: FT FILE

THE International Finance Corporation (IFC) will work with the Fiji Chef’s Association, hotels and Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to create or update vegetable and fruit grading charts that detail the quality, size, color, freshness and packaging requirements for the main items sourced by the hotels.

Findings From the Farm to the Tourist’s Table – A Study of Fresh Produce Demand From Fiji’s Hotels and Resorts that was launched at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Tuesday stated this as one of the ways farmers could increase their production of local and fresh produce to hotels and resorts.

“The charts will support farmers in harvesting at the appropriate time and in grading and sorting fresh produce items based on hotel requirements versus local market requirements,” the report stated.

The charts can be disseminated to farmers through MoA and the Fiji Agricultural Partnerships Project (FAPP).

The study also suggested that MoA should identify and disseminate information on appropriate seed varieties and crop planning for improved quality (taste, size and color in particular) of the fresh produce items identified as high priority in this study.

“MoA’s extension officers can then advise farmers on the seed varieities and farming techniques that will produce vegetables and fruits that meet hotel quality requirements and increase farm yield.”

The study further stated that MoA should ramp up implementation of their 2016 Fiji Livestock Sector Strategy that identifies the need for improved quality and food safety standards for farmers to meet the requirements of the tourism industry.

Specific focus should be in setting meat-grading standards, improving cattle variety for meat and dairy and better feed.

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