A leading fertiliser manufacturer has announced plans to open its first outlet in Fiji – a move that is expected to provide a major boost to Fiji’s agricultural production.
Samoa-based Soil Health Pacific Ltd will invest around AUD 60,000 for the new facility and equipment. The company is working with its business partner, Organic Agriculture Fiji, to begin operations in the next couple of months.
The expansion has been assisted by the European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, which is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The main goal of the project is to strengthen the export capacity of Pacific countries and territories in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock.
Currently, 28 enterprises in the region are being provided support to become export-oriented and market-driven ventures that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive products.
Over the last year, IACT has assisted Soil Health Pacific in the purchase of a new brewing plant for the production of liquid fertilisers. Training of staff and local farmers on biologically focused fertility programmes is also supported by IACT. These programmes combine conventional and organic methods to offer farmers smart choices to improve soil and plant health, leading to improved agricultural productivity.
In the near future IACT also plans to offer assistance in other areas, such as marketing and branding of products sold by the company.
Eestablished in 2010, Soil Health Pacific produces a range of liquid fertilisers which include biological brews that contain live micro-organisms (fungi and bacteria) to assist in stimulating plant growth. The company also produces a range of granular fertilizers.
Speaking about this new market opportunity, the Managing Director of Soil Health Pacific, Edwin Tamasese, says that there is significant potential in the Fiji market for the company’s products.
This, he said, is evident from the demand for fertiliser in Fiji. The company has supplied 100 tonnes of fertiliser to Fiji this year.
‘Fiji has a mature agricultural sector from a conventional point of view, but there is significant scope for progress, particularly in areas such as organic sugar cane production or even just lower fertiliser input and higher sugar output approaches. There are many other areas in the growing agriculture sector in the country which will give ample opportunity for our company to identify farmers that we would like to work with,’ he added.
Tamasese explained that the IACT project has played a critical role in enabling the company’s expansion in Fiji and in providing valuable training for staff and farmers.
‘IACT has had a major positive impact towards our development in a very short timeframe. Without IACT’s support we would very likely be a year behind in our progress compared to where we are today,’ he stated.
Soil Health Pacific is considering markets in Tonga and Papua New Guinea for possible expansion in the near future.