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Food exporters encouraged to tell their stories

Tuesday 7 July 2015 | Published in Regional


AUCKLAND – Exporters from the Pacific have been told the stories behind their food, like traditional farming practices, is a valuable selling point in the New Zealand market.

Food exporters from the Pacific are in New Zealand hoping to grow their existing customer base, as well as break into New Zealand’s retail market.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Export Marketing Officer, Sally Ann Hughes, says there is a real ‘feel good factor’ when buying Pacific products.

She said most products are organic by default, and provide employment opportunities for Pacific communities.

“There’s no pesticides, there’s no chemicals, so they’re really high quality pure products,’ Field said.

“Most of these exporters, and most exporters across the Pacific, are working with communities so that they are creating jobs and they’re raising the standard of living for all of the people that are farming the produce.”

The director of Papua New Guinea company Amruqa, which exports spices and essential oils, Theresa Areka, said the company already sells in bulk to New Zealand, and wants to learn what’s required for the retail ready market.

She said the company likes to work with remote communities.

“And work with spices that they do know already, so I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel with them. Basically working on enhancing their traditional knowledge ways of farming and building on quantities: Areka said.

Duddley Longamei is hoping to find buyers for the Solomon Islands coffee, Solomon Gold.

He said while the Solomon’s coffee industry is small, it’s hoped the product’s uniqueness can make a dent in the New Zealand market.

“New Zealand coffee lovers, they really know what flavours they really like. Solomon Gold coffee has a nutty, fruity, unique taste because of the climate, and the land we can produce a different taste for the New Zealand people.” Longamei said.

The managing director of Kaiming Agro Processing, Kaiming Qiu, said they currently export Fiji ginger to four New Zealand companies.

He said he wants to significantly grow the business in New Zealand, with the message that Fiji ginger is of premium quality.

“With the environment of Fiji ginger growing, we have an advantage because there’s no pollution, so we have a very low level of heavy metal content,”Qiu said.

“Also, there is no chemical residue since we are not using any harmful weed killer or insecticide.”

The media specialist from the Samoa Women in Business Development, Faumuina Felolini Tafunai, said she is hoping to gain knowledge on what the New Zealand market needs, and how products should look.

She said they are looking for buyers for their dried banana, coconut oil and koko Samoa products, who share the same beliefs in areas like sustainability.

“Anything that we’re doing with the farmers, we want it to be sustainable,” she said. “We want to be able to compete within the market place but bring all of that, once we cover costs, we want to bring all of that money back into the farms, into the rural areas.

Celebrity chef, Robert Oliver, said the organic, traditional methods of farming, and the community behind the food, is a story he as a chef wants to be able to tell.

“I want to pass that story on. I think successful menus, and restaurants, are those that tell a good story, that’s the part that’s maybe not on the ingredients list, and not on the recipe, and maybe not written on the menu, but it’s the heartfelt part of food that these companies, I don’t know if they realise it, but that’s to me where their success sits.”

The Pacific Trade Mission is a partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific and Pacific Trade and Invest New Zealand, and has been funded by the EU.