INFORMATION SERIES, August 2021, Issue 3
AGRICULTURAL EXPORT PATHWAYS TO NZ
Fiji has a total of 51 fresh agricultural products approved for export to New Zealand.
These 51 pathways were developed by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand, upon the request from and in consultations with Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF).
For detailed information on open pathway commodities from Fiji to NZ: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/1147/direct
Pathways for each product contain specific Import Health Standards (IHS) for each approved commodity which outlines the requirements that must be met locally before any fresh produce can be exported to New Zealand.
These include: Inspection to ascertain that produce is free from any pests, Phytosanitary Certificate Requirements to certify that the produce is considered free from pests and conform to the current phytosanitary regulations, Heat Treatment Specifications for BQA products and much more.
It is also important to note that there are currently no restrictions on any frozen products that can be exported to New Zealand as long as the stipulated freezing requirements of NZ MPI are fully satisfied and provided with the correct documented evidence.
Of the 51 approved agriculture produce, Fiji’s main agricultural exports to New Zealand continues to be Taro, Kava, Eggplants, Papaya, Cassava and a mixture of other vegetables.
According to Biosecurity Authority of Fiji, the following commodities are noted to be currently underutilized by the exporters in the open pathway status: Basil, Betel nut, Chive, Coriander, Dill, Island cabbage/bele, Khatta/ Roselle, Lemon grass, Lettuce, Mint, Oregano, Pea- green/snow, Pigeon peas, Pineapple, Plantain, Rocket, Sage and Thyme. These products see little to no export to New Zealand from Fiji, although the pathways were created and currently do exist.
Bilateral Quarantine Arrangements (BQA) are developed for fruit-fly host products that have an established pathway to New Zealand.
These products require further heat treatment or undergo High Temperature Forced Air (HTFA) Treatments to ensure all risk of fruit flies are mitigated prior to exports from Fiji to New Zealand and this is done at Natures Way Cooperative Ltd facility in Nadi.
Of the 51 approved, four products fall under this category; Breadfruits, Papaya, Mangoes and Eggplants. Fiji has many strengths when exporting to New Zealand.
Firstly, Fiji’s HTFA facility in Nadi is the only facility that is approved and certified by MPI NZ, therefore, currently giving Fiji the sole market access to the four fruit fly host commodities.
Fiji also has the highest number of approved pathways to New Zealand in the world and some Fiji-specific pathways include Okra, Duruka, Fiji Red Papaya, Plaintain, Chillies and Coconuts.
Fiji faces many challenges with fresh exports and a major one is consistency of supply.
It is well known that the Pacific region has the best tasting pineapples, however the reason that we don’t control the market is due to the lack of consistency in supply for both quality and quantity. As a result of this, low-cost, high-volume produced pineapples from Asia regions flood the New Zealand market.
Investment Fiji is assisting local farmers/emerging exporters to utilise such pathways through capability and trade development programs for commercial export.
Local pineapple farmer; Rakesh Singh of West Hill View Farms in Vakabuli, Paipai, Lautoka who has 15 acres of land with smooth cayenne variety of pineapples was assisted by Investment Fiji and the Fiji Trade Commission to New Zealand to engage with new markets after supply to local hotels and resorts stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investment Fiji’s team made a site visit in 2020 and facilitated an introductory meeting with a foreign distributor in Lautoka and has also facilitated discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji for advice on best planting and production practices to become export-ready.
The prospect of increased export of fresh produce and better trade between the two countries is further reinforced with the recent announcement of opening of a new Trade Commission of New Zealand in Fiji tasked with helping New Zealand businesses and bolstering trade in Fiji and across the region.
The new Trade Commission office will be responsible for helping grow New Zealand businesses in Fiji as well as the broader Pacific, with hundreds of New Zealand companies already active in the region.
Investment Fiji continues to assist local exporters find new markets and create pathways for emerging exporters. Its Investment & Trade team is in regular contact with exporters and is ready to assist with any queries.