Organic farming in Fiji as a business

hotellWITH the growing number of people becoming conscious of their health and what they eat, farmers need to think of organics as a business.

This was the view of Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development (FRIEND) executive director Sashi Kiran who has been involved in promoting organic and natural farming methods in Fiji.

According to Ms Kiran, farmers can make the shift towards organics business because it is not only recognised worldwide but here in Fiji as well.

“People are becoming very conscious of their health, if you go online and search the type of chemicals we are using in Fiji and the impacts it has such as diabetes, cardio and the cancers which are the top three killers,” she said.

“So more and more we find people are looking for healthy organic foods and farmers can make that shift and make organics as a business.

“Instead of buying organic fertilisers, they can actually make their own organic fertilisers and will be able to save money and have pretty good yields and that can be a very good business for farmers.”

And while organics is still a niche market in Fiji, Ms Kiran said they were working with more than 600 organic farmers around the country.

“We have 200 in Labasa and more than 400 in Ra and just recently Rewa has started doing organic farming so we are just working on a day to day basis with more than 600 farmers,” she said.

“There have been a few interests from Tailevu, Naitasiri, and some of the outer islands but we don’t have the capacity to fully go out and work.”

Ms Kiran also revealed that they would soon set up an organic restaurant in the West which is expected to be fully operational by July or August.

“We are also looking at an organic restaurant in Suva, immediately we can start serving organic food baskets in Suva and we are looking at spaces so that people have access to clean and healthy food,” she said.

And in response to the growing interest for organics in Fiji, FRIEND recently developed and published a guide — Organics Simplified — which would help farmers to implement organic methods of controlling pests and farming.

“Through this handout, we are hoping that everyone is able to grow the food in their back yard which is healthy,” she said.

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