Fiji ready for next phase of PHAMA

Fiji is ready for PHAMA Plus.

These were the sentiments of Losalini Leweniqila, Fiji’s National Coordinator for the Australia and New Zealand-funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program at the PHAMA Coordinating Committee meeting in Nadi last week.

The two-day meeting was attended by key government and private sector representatives from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Discussions revolved around a progress report of PHAMA’s work in the target countries in 2017 and PHAMA Plus, the next phase of the program.

Pauliasi Tuilau and Losalini Leweniqila deliver a presentation of PHAMA’s progress in Fiji in 2017. Photo: Samantha Rina/PHAMA

Leweniqila said the inclusion of representatives from the Ministry of Women in Fiji’s Market Access Working Group (MAWG) and the resumption of participation by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji in the group strengthened the MAWG and made it more effective.

Additional highlights of PHAMA’s progress in Fiji last year were:

  • conducting a feasibility study on the establishment of a second high-temperature forced air (HTFA) facility in the Central Division
  • an analysis of costs of exports of root crops
  • collaborating with the Fiji High Commission in Wellington for the Fiji Fresh Produce Forum in Auckland, New Zealand
  • active lobbying for an effective Kava Taskforce
  • launching Fiji’s first Kava Quality Manual and National Kava standard which were distributed by exporters, middlemen and -women, and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
  • conducting a kava value chain analysis in kava-producing areas of the country and developing a report of the analysis findings
  • initiating bilateral talks between Fiji and Vanuatu on kava and
  • receiving endorsement by the Codex Committee of North America and South West Pacific on the development of a regional standard for kava.

Deputy Chairman of the MAWG and the Ministry of Agriculture’s Principal Economic Planning Officer for Agriculture Trade, Pauliasi Tuilau, said, “From the (Fiji) government’s standpoint, we are grateful for the design of PHAMA, especially the Market Access Working Group which has a good mix of stakeholders.”

Tuilau said they were focusing on commercialising agriculture and linking it to tourism and value-adding this along the PHAMA platform with suggestions for areas that can be explored to facilitate this interest.

Over the next five months, PHAMA will continue working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Pacific Community (SPC) on developing a field guide on pest management, a taro quality manual and is looking forward to working with Australia and New Zealand in rejuvenating the sea container hygiene system. The program is also working with the Ministry of Fisheries on a commercial trial shipment of cawaki or sea urchins to Australia, drafting kava regulations in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and hosting a national exporters forum with MoA and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

For further information, contact Losalini Leweniqila at or on +679 9957 593

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