The importance of the agriculture sector to Fiji’s economy for income generation and food security has risen following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s tourism industry. The agriculture sector is currently valued at approximately $690 million (FJ$1.5 billion) and accounts for about 8.1 percent of Fiji’s GDP (2021) including the sugar industry (1.1 percent). The sector supports the livelihoods of 27 percent of Fiji’s population and is the main source of work for more than 83 percent of Fiji’s rural population. The Fiji government is focused on increasing the non-sugar subsector’s performance and has offered tax incentives to attract private sector investment into the sector. Papayas, pineapples, and bananas are the major fruit commodities, but there are a few establishments engaged in processing local fruits and vegetables, mainly for the domestic market, and in producing fruit juice concentrates (pineapple, orange, guava, mango, passion fruit, and other citrus fruit juices). A small but growing volume of high-quality niche agricultural commodities, including certified organic coconut and ginger products, chocolate, and kava is also exported. There is potential in the agro-processing sector for value-adding and niche- market processing of commodities.
The Fiji government is collaborating with development partners to increase linkages between the agriculture and tourism sectors, and to maximize benefits to local farmers and the economy. Fiji is dependent on imported produce to meet the tourism sector’s demand of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood, and dairy products.
Potential commodities in the agro-processing sector for value-added and niche- market processing include fresh fruits such as papaya, tomatoes, pineapple, coconut, duruka (Saccharum edule), guava, and mango; vegetables; and herbal kava products. Potential also exists for snack food processing of readily-available taro, tapioca, breadfruit, and bananas. As fruits and vegetables are seasonal crops, processing facilities will need to have flexibility to allow the processing of multiple items to utilize the same plant throughout the year.
Investment, equipment, and supplies needed to expand and support these industries are in demand. The sector also faces several challenges including natural disasters, inadequate infrastructure, and high transportation and input costs.