More than 200 Koro Farmers attend ‘Market Day’

March 24, 2022

Picture: Farmers attend first agriculture buyer-supplier event.

In a first for a maritime zone, buyers who were also exporters were brought to a maritime island to meet more than 200 suppliers or farmers for possible contract sign ups.

Dubbed the ‘Buyer-Supplier Engagement Day,’ the event was organized by Market Development Facility in collaboration with the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Adventist Development & Relief Agency (ADRA), and Save the Children was held last week (15.3.22).

In officiating at the day-long event in Nasau, Koro, Ministry of Agriculture’s Acting Chief Economist, Ms Sera Bose said Koro earned $13m annually as gross value from agriculture activities through dalo, cassava, and kava.

As one of the main producers of quality dalo for Exports, she commended the Koro farmers for the achievement.

“They are not only contributing positively to enhancing their family income but also to growing the economy,” she said.

"I understand this is the first kind of event, where the market is brought directly to the doorsteps of suppliers or farmers. This opportunity allows farmers to engage directly with the market. Therefore I urge you all, our farmers in Koro, to make use of this occasion to enhance your knowledge on available markets and how you can maximise its use to increase your income," she said

The Acting Chief Economist explained developing and improving market access for farmers was paramount to achieving strategic priorities of the Ministry as highlighted in the Ministry of Agriculture 2019 – 2023 Strategic Development Plan.

“This was later strengthened in the 2020 Agriculture Growth and Expansion Plan that supported the SDP in response to COVID-19. Encouraging Market Access for farmers will also contribute to achieving Commercialisation of Fiji’s Agriculture Sector and improving sustainable rural livelihood which are key highlights of the Ministry of Agriculture Vision and Mission.”

A farmer, Apenisa Kaunisela, 58, of Nasau, Mudu the event motivated him to work more on his farm.

Speaking in i-Taukei, Mr Kaunisela said the event was the first of its kind to happen to them and he was grateful.

He said it would boost his work on the farm knowing that the market had come to meet them.

He has been farming for over 40 years which has allowed him to slowly rebuild his home after TC Winston destroyed it in 2016, educate his children, fulfill his social obligations to the vanua, the church, and his family.     

Salome, 53, from Navaga Village, in the District of Cawa explained in i-Taukei that all her years of living on Koro, it was the first time the buyers came to see them as farmers to discuss business.

She said she was thrilled about the event and believed it was part of God’s plan for them.

The buyers who came to Koro were Coconut Millers of Fiji, Food Processors, Agriculture Marketing Authority, Garden City Exports, Fiji Kava, KK’s Hardware, and courier company, CDP.

Buyers each took turns to make a brief presentation of the commodities they exported and what they required from the farmers.