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Looking to spice up your food or beverage products? By partnering with Fiji’s premium ingredient producers you can give your brand a real edge in international markets.

Strong partnerships between New Zealand brands and Fiji’s premium organically-grown producers are resulting in remarkable value-added products being marketed all around the world. These products are primarily food and beverages, including non-alcoholic drinks, as well as nutraceuticals and plant-based treatments.

Underpinning these strong partnerships have been strong initiatives by the Fiji Trade Commission to New Zealand which, via Fiji’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (MCTTT) is helping work towards building farmers’ capability in Fiji so they meet not only New Zealand’s, but other key international markets’, high standards.


Partnerships to make a difference

It’s important to remember that by partnering with Fijian growers and producers Kiwi brands are also having a positive impact on the Fijian people.

One excellent case study is Zonah United, a 100 percent Fijian-owned producer of spices and healthy produce established in 2014 and founded on the basis of empowering the lives of rural marginalized women through agriculture farming, food production and exports.

Zonah United director Naheeda Maqbool says that once a partnership is established with a New Zealand manufacturer, that manufacturer then directly makes a difference to the lives of many rural Fijian women.

“Our company identifies, supports, and creates employment opportunities for rural women who include single mothers, victims, illiterate women, and youths from broken families.

“The aim is to help provide a source of income that they earn consistently to improve their standard of living and create a better life for their children.”

Zonah United supports and empowers rural marginalized women to take up positions such as truck drivers, loaders and farmers, she says.

The company has also created a brand called Zorganic, “which represents hope, dreams and a new beginning”, to support these women.

“We currently support 50 rural women with employment opportunities and we want to increase the number to 150 by 2023,” says Naheeda. “We would love Kiwi businesses to collaborate with us in helping create a sustainable Fiji for all.

“Our products, such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon have a vibrant colour, smell and taste because it is 100 percent natural and widely grown and processed in its purest form.”


Passion project

One mutually beneficial partnership that has been described as a “true passion project” involves Fijian grower Ranadi Organics and New Zealand purpose-led brand Daily Good.

Ranadi Organics is an award-winning and global G.A.P Certified farm that grows high-quality USDA-certified organic ginger and turmeric – the inspiration behind Daily Good, which produces premium immunity products here in New Zealand.

Ranadi Organics is proudly operated by a workforce that is more than 80 percent female, led by a CEO who began her career picking on the farm. Their support extends into local rural communities, including CureKids and the wider community with education, housing and more.

“Our partnership with Ranadi Organics is at the core of Daily Good as a product,” says Rhona MacKenzie, founder and CEO of New Zealand FMCG brand incubator Red Shoots.

“Developing Daily Good was a true passion project for the team as the impact the brand can drive in Fiji with the vital work that Ranadi Organics does in their community is second to none,” she explains. “We work tirelessly to ensure that we can produce a product that does good, both for those who take it and those who grow the ingredients that go into every Daily Good bottle.

“We believe it’s key to be driven with the end goal in mind of taking these high-quality and sustainable ingredients and using them in a product that is truly authentic in its purpose and intent.”


Ethical and sustainable

Rebekah Hay is founder and director of Hakanoa, the brand famous for its handmade traditional ginger beers. One key ingredient is the organic ginger sourced from Fiji’s Navurevure Farmers group.

“Hakanoa has always had a direct trade goal for our ginger supplies and we’ve developed our relationship with the Navurevure Farmers over the past five years,” says Rebekah.

She says supply chain integrity is paramount for the brand.

“Our experience is that many businesses start with an exit plan consisting of hitting a highly profitable turnover then cashing out. The downside is that the highly profitable turnover generally comes with environmental, financial and quality compromises for everyone in the supply chain – farmers through to consumers. Our aim is to generate sufficient profit to keep everyone in the supply chain uncompromised.”

Rebekah says the farmers have been converting from conventionally grown ginger to organically grown ginger for Hakanoa in stages since 2019. Such is the high level of commitment and cooperation.

“Although organic certification has been unattainable to date because of covid border restrictions and lack of organically certified processing facilities, we are still paying the farmers the organic premium, as supporting them to farm organically is part of our mission.”


Sustainable development goals

Another New Zealand company working hard to forge a partnership with a Fijian farming community in order to grow export opportunities is Evithé Biotechnology – a brand developing effective botanical medicines to support people with auto-inflammatory diseases.

The company chose Fiji ginger due to its unique demographic and soil that is rich in nutrients but low in contaminants – the key to producing a medicine that meets strict quality control standards.

“Our goal is to grow the business sustainably and export 20 percent of Fiji’s ginger within the next five years,” says Cynthia Hunefeld, Evithé Biotechnology’s CEO and founder.

“We’re unique in the way we work together with nature. Our research has taught us how certain plants protect themselves and we have managed to harness these actions and produce novel botanical medicines aimed at the treatment of inflammatory diseases from bladder pain to sepsis.

“We are one of the few pharmaceutical companies that actively implements the sustainable development goals across the board from farm to pharmaceutical.”


To investigate a mutually beneficial partnership with Fijian premium ingredient producers, or learn more about Fijian investment opportunities, contact Camila Eiras at the Fiji Trade Commission Australia & New Zealand: [email protected]


The importance of Global G.A.P

Through an initiative supported by Aotearoa New Zealand’s MFAT, the Fiji Trade Commission has implemented a programme to build Global G.A.P Fiji-based capability, both in the private and public sector, with workshops delivered by Peter Ensor from Market Access Solutionz.

Efforts towards getting more Fijian agri-businesses Global G.A.P certified should significantly increase international trade for key crops such as turmeric, ginger, pawpaw and pineapple.

When following good agriculture practices the likelihood to partner with like-minded businesses in New Zealand is also increased considerably.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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