The 40 participants who attended the workshop on ‘Planning & Implementing Contract Farming Operations in Fiji’, conducted by Fiji Crop & Livestock Council (FCLC), reflects the need for contract farming as a mechanism and important tool to coordinate linkages between farmers and buyers and agribusiness firms, according to FCLC CEO, Mrs Jiu Daunivalu.
The workshop was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, with Mr. Josefa Vuidreketi, Agriculture Officer, Dreketi, Vanua Levu, officially opening the workshop.
The participants attending the Contract Farming Training Workshop, held at Dreketi, Vanua Levu, included farmers (including two women) who are members of the Ginger, Dalo, Cassava and Fruits & Vegetable Farmers Associations, as well as officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and representatives from agribusiness firms.
FAO responds to contract farming interest Mrs Daunivalu said that the FAO has responded to the growing interest and demand in Fiji (and the Pacific) for information on contract farming.
“The FAO has conducted training workshops for all farmers in the Central, Northern and Western divisions. In line with FAO’s programme on contract farming in the Pacific Islands, five training workshops, coordinated by FCLC, have already been held in Fiji.
“This led to an increased awareness and interest in the Contract Farming concept, that saw more training workshops being held successfully in Suva, Labasa and Nadi in 2018/2019, and the one held recently in Dreketi, which was attended by farmers, private sector businesses/agri-exporters and processors and MOA officers,” said Mrs Daunivalu.
Workhop objectives She said the workshop objectives included:
- empowering farmers and their farmer organisations with the right knowledge and skills to effectively engage in farming, supply in compliance to market requirements, negotiate in their best interest and form strong linkages with the buyers, financiers and other key value chain actors, supporters and enablers;
- supporting the overall strengthening of the public-private-producer partnerships (4Ps) through the Contract Farming concept that guaranteed a ‘win-win’ arrangement for the farmers, and
- enabling farmers and their organisations to access and/or apply technical skills and best practice to achieve sustainability of production, consistency in quality to the satisfaction of the buyers/exporters, and improvement in income, food security, and livelihood.
The FCLC CEO added that the increased interest in contract farming, and demand for information led to the Fiji Crop Livestock Council translating the FAO Contract Farming training materials into the iTaukei language, with further trainings conducted in iTaukei and English.