17 Innovation Grants awarded to Pacific SMEs to grow their business
Seventeen agro-business enterprises from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu have been awarded innovation grants of up to Euro 17,000 through the CTA/IFAD/PIPSO Innov4AgPacific Innovation Grant Facility (IGF). The grant will enable the SMEs to access expertise, purchase small equipment, build staff capacity, improve product quality, expand product offerings, enhance process efficiency and increase market share.
The CTA/IFAD/PIPSO Innov4AgPacific IGF Call for Applications was launched in February 2018, targeting Pacific Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are contributing to the sustainable development of the agriculture and fisheries sector in the region. After a rigorous evaluation process, which involved administrative and technical assessment by Pacific experts in agribusiness/value chain development, business management, micro-finance, policy and nutrition; nineteen SMEs were selected. Following the contract negotiation process, seventeen SMEs from Fiji (7), Kiribati (2), Samoa (2), Solomon Islands (1), Tonga (2) and Vanuatu (3) were awarded the innovation grants.
By providing grant funds to the 17 Pacific SMEs to help them innovate in all aspects of their business from sourcing raw materials to processing and marketing, diversifying product range and gaining international certification, the Innov4AgPacific IGF is expected to:
- Expand opportunities for small-scale farmers-fishers
- Create jobs and new business opportunities and
- Diversify agro-based economies in the Pacific
Thereby the IGF aims to contribute to increased agricultural performance and improved incomes and nutrition outcomes.
The awardees are:
Matei Farm Fresh Eggs: Chicken Manure Pellets
The first commercial fresh eggs producer in Taveuni Island in Fiji aims to develop a new product; chicken manure pellets as a supplement to NPK fertilizer to increase soil fertility and productivity targeting Dalo/Taro farmers.
Kuku and Nau’s Organic Farm: E-Commerce operation with full product traceability
An organic farm with fields on different islands with a total area of 210 ha aims to develop the first e-commerce agricultural shop as well as acquire HACCP certification for delivering Fiji grown food locally and internationally with product traceability system.
South Sea Orchids (SSO): Website/ online platform
SSO works with and supports women organisations and boasts of an integrated vertical supply chain that involves procurement from 100 local farmers. Orchids, anthuriums, ginger and heliconia flowers are sold as fresh cut flowers or pot plants. SSA aims to access marketing and technical support to expand product lines to increase demand for locally produced flowers.
Fiji Management Counsellors Association of Fiji: Build capacity of Dalo and Yagona farmers
FMCAF provides technical assistance to farming communities. Aims to apply the “whole family approach”; not only famers but their whole families (spouse, children, etc.) to provide training “Farming as a Business” and set-up of clusters of Dalo and Yaqona farmers.
Fijika Natural Products: Coconut virgin oil and noni juice
Producer of virgin oil and noni juice from locally grown coconuts and kura. Aims to improve processing, quality and marketability of Coconut virgin oil and Noni juice in order to increase market visibility and demand for locally grown products.
Allied Print Design: Eco-retreat farm
Garment manufacturing and other service provider is currently engaging into the establishment of eco retreat and farmstead on 10 acres of land to link agriculture and tourism.
Vitila Organic Farm: Organic honey
A fully organic farm producing root crops, vegetable, and fruits has identified that the demand for honey is much higher than the supply in Fiji. Aims to increase honey production and processing and expand the range of honey based products.
Atoll Beauties: High value sea cucumber farming and processing
Producer of giant clams which includes a hatchery, land-based nursery system, and ocean grow out systems in outer islands of Kiribati. The giant clam out farms are managed by the local communities. Aims to expand to other island communities in Kiribati and engage hundreds of farmers to engage in sustainable and commercial sea cucumber farming.
Kiribati Organic Producers: Coconut toddy sugar
Processor and promoter of traditional use and benefits of organic coconut sap (toddy) to replace natural and artificial sweeteners. Aim is train toddy collectors, acquire small equipment and organic certification and standardize product quality.
Natural Foods International: Probiotic breadfruit juice drink and ethanol
Natural Foods International processes taro, breadfruit, banana chips and flour. It has Safe Quality Food certification (SQF1) which allows the company to export to supermarket chains in New Zealand and Australia. They aim to determine the feasibility for developing new products; a probiotic drink and ethylene by maximising waste (breadfruit that ripens before it is processed).
E-Life: Organic turmeric and ginger products
Samoa producer of wild organic turmeric drink. Aims to expand production of organic turmeric and ginger and develop new products.
Tupaghotua Cocoa Plantation (TCP): Cocoa production and quality
Started with 3 ha in 2003 and increased to 255 ha by 2016. TCP 300 cocoa farmers; 70% of whom are women and youth are organized into a network. It received the Women’s Economic Empowerment Award from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands in 2015. The aim is to conduct training in managing cocoa farms, integrated pest and disease management, cocoa drying techniques, food quality and safety, sustainable supply, etc.
South Pacific Mozuku: Sustainable Mozuku (Seaweed) Farming
The company attributes the decrease in the wild natural Mozuku (seaweed), to overharvesting and climate change (e.g. in 2016, natural stocks were insufficient for harvesting due to extremely cold water temperatures). Securing consistent supplies of Mozuku is a priority to meet local and export demand. Aims to train coastal communities managing SMA to regenerate growth of wild seaweed through natural sporulation and improve harvesting.
Fuko Fishing Co.: Fish packing facility
Fuko Fishing operates two fishing vessels for domestic and export market. To minimize the waste due to low market demand on weekends, the company opened a seafood restaurant. It aims to establish a small fish packing facility to increase access for small-scale fishermen and minimise waste.
Lapita Café: Nangai Nut and Manioc Flour
The company processes local food crops and uses only natural and organic ingredients which are sourced from 1225 farmers. It has set an ambitious goal of doubling its production annually. It aims to improve the quality and marketability of Nangai Nut, Manioc Flour and other products and create additional market demand; locally and internationally.
Timakata & Associates: Community organic mariculture for sea cucumber and sea urchins
This company has encouraged the development of Emae island’s organic agricultural production, since the organic declaration of the island in 2016, which led 290 local farmers to successfully plant and harvest various organic root crops (yam, cassava, taro and kumala) for food security and sale at the urban market in Port Vila. It aims to set up a community fishery and marine resource hatchery to spawn sea cucumbers and sea urchins and put to naturally grow-out in the wild.
Gaston Chocolat: New local cocoa products
Chocolate company that uses locally sourced cocoa beans from 238 farmers to produce a range of chocolate product aims to develop new products with various flavours using additional locally grown and sourced ingredients (e.g. nangae and coconuts).
The Innov4Ag project will follow their journeys in “taking the next steps” to grow their business and contribute, to the sustainable development of the agriculture and fishery sectors in the Pacific. We shall also capture and share the lessons learned in managing innovation grants. Stories of the winning SMEs will be featured on the Innov4Ag site and we will follow their journeys.
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