Fiji's Biosecurity Authority (BAF) is committed to work with Biosecurity Australia to ensure that Fiji meets export requirements outlined by Australian authorities for local ginger.
BAF chief executive Elvis Silvestrini said Australia and Fiji are both members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and therefore must adhere to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures to ensure a clean pathway for Fiji ginger exports into Australia.
Silvestrini in a statement said any concerns regarding pests must be supported by sound scientific evidence.
“It’s interesting to note that consultants who assisted the Fiji ginger industry a few years ago are some of the same ones that the Australian ginger industry is now using to build an argument against Fiji ginger exports,” said Silvestrini.
He said BAF is confident that Fijian farmers and exporters will be able to meet these conditions as in many instances they are doing this already.
The provisional final import risk analysis (IRA) report for Fiji ginger identified the yam scale (Aspidiella hartii) and burrowing nematode (Radopholus similis) as quarantine pests of concern to Australia which needs to be managed.
Silvestrini said ginger exports is important for Fiji as it will not only bring substantial benefits for large numbers of farming communities and their families, but will also boost Fiji’s ginger exports and bring in more foreign exchange into the country.
“Fiji currently exports more than 830,000kg of ginger worth about $6million annually and this additional Australian market will boost the export earnings further providing a significant trade benefit,” he said.
“Compared to Australian production this is a drop in the ocean but vitally important for Fiji.”
He added Fiji’s ginger is of high quality with a unique flavour and is low in plant fibre so they are confident that it will gain wide acceptance in the Australian market.
“That is not just us saying this but also Australian Ginger Industry executives themselves who visited Fiji last year intending to source ginger from Fiji.”
By Ropate Valemei