Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade

The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project aims to support commercial ventures and producer groups in becoming export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agricultural and forestry products. The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji and started in May 2008.

Vanuatu food producer seeks entry into Pacific regional markets
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 10:17

The founder and owner of Vanuatu-based Lapita Cafe Limited, Votausi Mackenzie-Reur, says her company is ready to tap into the markets of other Pacific Island countries with its value added local food products.

Mackenzie-Reur says this has been made possible through technical advice and assistance provided by the European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project, which is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

‘In the last two years the FACT Project has helped us do a nutritional analysis as well as develop packaging of our products,’ she said.

‘They have also upgraded our kitchen and provided equipment that has helped us become efficient in food processing,’ she added.

She noted that it is much easier to export to other Pacific Island countries than to Australia, New Zealand and Europe with their stringent trade requirements.

Lapita Cafe Ltd showcased its chips (manioc, banana and taro), gluten-free flour (manioc), regular and gluten-free cookies using local flavours such as nagae (canarium nuts) at the Trade Pasifika 2012 regional trade exhibition in Nadi, Fiji.

‘I think if we can find regional markets it can help us to start training and upskilling ourselves on how we can meet the demand in our backyard before we can approach overseas markets,’ says Ms Mackenzie-Reur.    

Lapita Cafe Ltd is based in Port Vila and it is here that Ms Mackenzie-Reur saw the need for value-added products made from traditional produce bought directly from farmers. The enterprise aims to tap into high-end food markets such as boutique speciality shops and health food shops.

Lapita Cafe’s ginger and coconut cookies and manioc chips are served on Air Vanuatu’s domestic and international flights.
The Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), in collaboration with regional partners including SPC, the UNDP Pacific Centre, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Melanesian Spearhead Group, hosted the inaugural Trade Pasifika 2012 from 25 to 27 June 2012 in Nadi, Fiji.

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Caption: Ms Votausi and Mr Geordie Reur-McKenzie discuss Lapita’s exports with Mr Jeremy Grennell, Pacific Islands Trade and Invest's Export Services Manager (Sydney).


 


The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of SPC.