Value chain

Climbing the value chain in the ginger industry in Fiji

At Qere Mai Lagi Ginger Farm in Fiji, the future looks bright.

Through its association with the UK Trade Partnership Program (UKTP) in Fiji, Ifereimi Vasu and Jason Zhong are part of an industry-wide revival in the ginger sector, bringing new jobs, increased productivity and increased incomes across the entire agricultural value chain.

Since 2019, the UKTP program has been working with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to increase exports to the UK and European Union through better use of Economic Partnership Agreements.

The program has identified the untapped potential of the ginger industry in Fiji, especially for value-added products such as crystallized ginger and ginger syrup. From farmers to factory workers to financiers, at the heart of this program is an approach that seeks to identify, connect and support all players in the value chain. The value chain model starts with farmers like Ifereimi and Jason, their families and rural communities.

Through site selection, land preparation work, visits to individual farms by the program team and support from the Ministry of Agriculture, more than 150 new farms have been selected for financial assistance through the Fiji Development Bank over a two-year period. Rural training kits were distributed and more than 100 loan applications targeting smallholder farmers were submitted, leading to the bank’s approval of more than $1 million in ginger farmer loans. Last year.

Despite two hurricane seasons, agricultural yields have increased and the production plant is buzzing as the reputation of Fiji’s quality ginger products grows.

For the ginger industry to grow and be sustainable, it had to bring benefits to all parts of the community. This was an important design element of the program. The ginger sector provides jobs for Fijians beyond the farm, with ginger processing employing over 230 people, 75% of whom are women.

UKTP Fiji Senior Agricultural Extension Officer Ms Mereseini Naivola said:

Inviting men and women to participate in UKTP training activities has seen men and women working side by side on ginger farms. It has become a more socially acceptable practice in the ginger industry.

Up to 570 seasonal workers have benefited from more regular and continuous work due to higher production volumes and the model has supported farmers living with disabilities. For farmers who cannot attend the in-person training sessions, the UKTP has developed 16 instructional videos which can be viewed on smart phones via the mobile network.

The British High Commissioner to Fiji, Dr Brian Jones, said:

It was great to meet Ifereimi and Jason, hear their passion for growing ginger, and recognize the skills and competencies they have learned. Many people I have met in Fiji so far have told me about the potential of growing and exporting ginger, and I am very pleased that the UK is stepping into such a promising industry. Much more needs to be done to help farmers and Fiji get the best price for their world-class ginger, and I look forward to the results this year will bring.

As the world opens up again to the global pandemic, the agriculture value chain model is seeing real success in Fiji.

The consolidated income generated by ginger growers under the UKTP scheme has tripled since the scheme was launched.

The farm gate price of ginger has gone up 60%, so farmers, growers and financiers are all celebrating.

And with the sale of new Fiji ginger products to markets in the UK, Europe and Australia, the prospects for keen ginger farmers such as Ifereimi and Jason look very promising.