Fiji Farmers Hurt By New Zealand Ban On Produce Imports

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Fresh produce pest treatment ‘anomaly’ hopefully resolved soon

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 13, 2015) – Small farmers in Fiji stand to lose the most from a New Zealand ban on fresh produce imports from Fiji.

Officials have been meeting this week in Nadi to discuss the ban enforced by New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries after a shipment of Fiji eggplant was rejected due to an anomaly in operational measures taken by Fiji.

The ban applies also to mango, breadfruit and papaya.

New Zealand officials have also met representatives of the firm which treats Fiji's fruits and vegetables for export, Nature's Way Cooperative Fiji.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘Fiji's Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the New Zealand government has not been following protocol over biosecurity issues with Fiji. ... He says the competent authority for biosecurity matters is the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and all lines of communication should go through the authority.’]

Our correspondent, Ricardo Morris, says that meanwhile, the small holder farmers who grow the produce will be hurting.

"Nature's Way, the facility at the centre of this controversy facilitates lots of small-scale farmers, it's a co-operative and they process this produce from small farmers and it's having a big impact on these small farming communities, many of whom have had to turn to farming these produce after the decline in the sugar industry."

Ricardo Morris says Fiji's government has expressed hope that the ban will be lifted in the coming days.

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