Vuvale Magazine | Edition 8

As part of the Fiji Trade Commission's commitment towards supporting Fiji’s SMEs that were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Office decided to re-launch its #BuyFromFiji social media campaign.

The initiative aimed to raise the profile of a selection of Fijian brands across the food, beverage and beauty industries. To attract mainly buyers from AU/NZ, each week, for a duration of two months, the FTC spotlighted a Fijan enterprise promoting its products and services across their social media platforms.

The highlighted FijiMade brands included Loaloa Naturals,Island Style PNB, Singh's Herbal Hair Oil, Loloma, Kula Palms, South Pacific Coffee Company, Balabala Bobo and Fiji Spice Queen.

In addition to these efforts, the Fiji Trade Commission has launched a new online product catalogue to facilitate the promotion of Fiji’s premium brands & products in the Australian & New Zealand markets. The online platform is tailored to Australian & New Zealand importers, distributors and retailers and enables them to explore the finest range of goods Fiji has to offer.

Fiji’s agriculture exports have bounced-back from the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent impact on global trade volumes. There has been sustained demand for Fijian products in international markets, notably that of the agriculture sector. The Fiji Bureau of Statistics noted Fiji’s agriculture exports in 2020 increased from 2019 for a variety of goods, including Kava, Turmeric, Coconut Oil, Ginger and Taro.

There has been a rise in global demand for Fijian Turmeric in recent years due to the benefits turmeric boasts, both as a superfood and as an ingredient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Currently, 97.87% of Fiji’s turmeric exports go to the US and are worth US$9.15 million, 2.06% go to New Zealand and are worth US$192,780, and the remainder goes to Japan.

Among others, there are three main companies growing/commercialising turmeric in Fiji; Island Magic grows USDA Certified Organic Turmeric on foothills across the main island of Viti Levu and exports mainly to the US; Ranadi Organics grows organic ginger and turmeric for Redshoots for the award winning immunity health tonic shots brand Daily Good; and Tavulomo Coconuts, based in Vanua Levu, specialises in Virgin Coconut Oil, but have recently launched their cold pressed turmeric, ginger and lime health shots.

Ginger has additionally seen an uptick in demand during the pandemic, with a number of health benefits, is a well known alternative medicine and health product in international markets. Aiding with digestion, anti-nausea, cold and flu symptoms, it is an incredibly important agricultural export commodity for Fiji, growing more in demand each year. Ginger experienced an increase in exports of FJ$2.7 million (207%) in 2020.

This provides opportunity for Fijian producers, as many overseas consumers such as those in the US, Japan and New Zealand are desiring more and more turmeric and ginger.

Since Fiji's Covid-19 outbreak the international community has shown considerable acts of kindness towards the country. The help from Australia and New Zealand Government went far beyond the life-saving vaccines. It has included equipment, technical advice, testing of thousands of swab samples and financial support to help Fiji through the economic crisis.

On top of the AU/NZ Aid, there have been many community driven initiatives; there is one specific group based in Australia of 500+ former Fijian citizens, that has gone the extra mile to help Fiji with their response to the outbreak.

Fiji LIFE Gold Coast is a group made up of Fijians who were raised in Fiji between 1940 and the 1980's. While the group is based in the Gold Coast, it's members live in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the US, the U.K and Ireland.

Originally multiple fundraising events across Australia were organised; unfortunately these have to be postponed or cancelled due to the current lockdowns in several states. Despite the challenges, the group managed to donate over $13,0000 to four charities; J P Bayly Trust, Make A Difference Fiji, FijiKids Learning for Life and Fiji Society for the Blind.

The aim of the fundraising was to support organisations providing aid, medical equipment, security for women, food and water. Thanks to their donations many families in Fiji, who are experiencing hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, will be benefited.

Diaspora groups continue to raise funds for those in Fiji impacted by the pandemic. Please support and donate through the links below:

- Friends for Fiji Fundraiser (Sydney Fiji Disaster Management Collective)

- Rotary-Fiji Covid Relief Project (Fiji Business & Community Association of Victoria)

Fijian student Krishna Raghubir Nand has written a creative essay on “Interpreting the Indentured Discourse of Indians in Fiji through Theoretical Frameworks on Racism”, opening the curtains on, and detailing the racism indentured Inidans face in Fiji.

Mr. Nand is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies (Honours) at The University of Sydney, having previously completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at Macquarie University in Sydney and intending to study a Master of Laws.

His Honours Thesis at the University of Sydney under his B.A. (AdvSt) (Hons) examines similar frameworks, researching into colonial Calcutta's cultural histories, a major presidency of the East India Company, through the Judicial Notebooks written by Justice John Hyde.

Mr. Nand examines the problems, identified by Florence Garnham in her Report, faced by Indentured Indians in Fiji during the early colonial period of the twentieth century. He argues how these problems are better understood through looking at conceptual theories pertaining to what historians understand as 'Race'.

The essay emphasises the significance Miss Garnham's Report has on understanding how conceptual theories on race explain the problems faced by Indentured Indians, followed by contextual motivations behind the indentured system. This is supplemented with the position Miss Garnham's Report has in the archives of historical examinations into both Fijian, and Indian histories.

As the Fijian-Indian diaspora continues to expand abroad in this century of international expansion, this essay aims to do justice to those descendants by providing them with a reflection of how their diaspora came to be, and the struggles his and others ancestors endured to become so closely knitted.

Click here to see the full length Honours Creative Essay, published in the Fiji Times Australia.

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