M A R C H 2 0 2 2
Nadi, Fiji – Nature’s Way Cooperative want to help members increase their economic return when growing Fiji Red Papaya to meet consumer demands and enhance their competitive edge in domestic and international markets.
It’s the reason why they have embarked on the expansion of seed blocks which is expected to supplement current stocks.
“We are seeing an increase in the sale of seeds during this cyclone season as nurserymen and nurserywomen start cultivating their own seedlings for post cyclone mitigation,” said Donald Pickering, the manager at Nature’s Way Cooperative.
“Currently we have a seed stock of about 4kg and with the rising need for papaya exports, there is an increase in the cultivation of Fiji Red Papaya seeds.”
The results has led to the support of operational costs to increase quality and quantity of fresh produce for export.
“We follow a strict product description and guideline from farm to packaging and seed storage. This project has allowed Nature’s Way Cooperative to work with 2 seed block farmers that will become certified Fiji Red Papaya Seed producers,” Donald Pickering said.
The project, conducted in Nadi feature the foundation seed of Solo Sunrise obtained from the University of Hawaii Seed Lab. As part of the project, both seed block farmers were assessed from previous projects as having successfully grown papaya in addition to the membership survey conducted by Nature’s Way Cooperative.
“The two beneficiaries of the Fiji Red Papaya seed block project were both terminated Fiji Airways cabin crew following the global lockdown of 2020. They are registered with Nature’s Way Cooperative and the farms are monitored fortnightly during bagging period and weekly during harvesting period,” he added
“Both seed block farmers were assisted with land preparation and supply of Fiji Red Papaya Seedlings from Bula Agro Nursery and other farming implements. The Ministry of Agriculture Research Division provides quarterly audit for seed producers, currently Nature’s Way Cooperative provides Fiji Red Papaya seeds to all nursery around Fiji at $20 a packet, these are 10gram packets and can hold a minimum of 600 seeds.”
Fiji Red Papaya is popular amongst consumers with most largely from the country’s salad bowl of Sigatoka Valley passing the High Temperature Forced Air (HTFA) treatment for Bilateral Quarantine Arrangement with Australia and New Zealand.
Nature’s Way Cooperative hopes to replicate the development of Fiji Red Papaya within the Nadi and Lautoka areas.
The is project is funded by the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP) Programme, a joint partnership between the European Union International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON).