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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Mar. 14) – A Fijian delicacy known as duruka – or Fiji asparagus – is gaining popularity in overseas markets.

Local canning company Food Processors Fiji Limited packs duruka with brine in 400 grams can and exports to Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.

The duruka, Saccharun edule, is of the grass family and is closely related to sugar cane.

Production manager Dron Prasad said duruka was popular with local people overseas and last year the company exported 2,000 cartons of duruka and expecting to pack 6,000 cartons this year.

"The company is willing to buy 80 to 100,000 bundles of duruka this year at the farm gate price of $2 a bundle and will provide transport if the farmers can supply more than 1,000 bundles.''

There are two varieties of duruka Green local variety and Red local variety. The Red variety matures between December to January while the green variety that is canned season is usually ready between February to March with supplies coming in from Tailevu, Naitasiri, Korovou, Vunidawa and Namosi.

Senior Agriculture Assistant at Vunidawa Savenaca Tuivaga said most of the farmers in Waima tikina planted duruka as a source of income. He said the farmers of Naqara Village were one of the biggest suppliers of duruka to Food Processors Fiji Limited.

Duruka is currently in season in Fiji, with bundles selling at up to $6 in the markets and roadsides.

March 14, 2004

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