Paying It Forward
Nature’s Way Cooperative (NWC) provides treatment, grading, packing and technical services to both its exporter and grower members IMAGE: Supplied
The global pandemic is showing both direct and indirect impacts on food security and nutrition.
In Fiji, it’s falling especially hard on many households who are struggling to feed their children due to loss of work and income; leaders and experts warn many households may downshift to ‘inferior goods’ such as more processed and less nutritious foods as a cost-saving measure.
“We carry out mandatory quarantine treatment on Fijian fruit and vegetables under the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement that’s established with importing countries.”
“We recently sat down with our exporters and had a conversation on how we can help those who have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”
“In June, we were approached by a group of women who prepare cooked meals for children and particularly for those whose parents have been laid off from work in some of the schools in Nadi.”
“It’s an initiative that forms part of their community and charity work for their church.”
With the support of its exporters, NWC actioned a plan immediately.
“Sometimes we get a great amount of eggplants that aren’t rotten but show visible markings caused by cold weather which isn’t fit for exports.”
“So we sat down with our exporters and had a conversation on how we can help many of those who have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
“With their permission, we redirected the rejected batch of eggplants towards home consumption which would have otherwise gone to waste.”
“This doesn’t happen every week because it depends on the supply and how much of it isn’t fit for exports, we’re however seeing the impacts of this goodwill in the way of providing lunch for children and families.”
“Today we have Manasa Export, Mahen Export and Green Valley Export who have agreed to donate around 20 kilos of purple variety eggplants towards the initiative,” she said.
“We’re going through some challenging times and we help where we can.”