Nature’s Way Cooperative (NWC) (Fiji) Ltd was established in 1995 to carry out mandatory quarantine treatment on Fijian fruit and vegetables under the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement (BQA) established with importing countries. After over 20 years, NWC is now a thriving agribusiness providing treatment, grading, packing and technical services to both its exporter and grower members.
Initially a small enterprise handling just 30 tonnes of papaya each year, NWC now treats and packs around 1000 tonnes of papaya, mango, breadfruit and eggplant annually. NWC business revolves around the treatment of BQA commodities before shipment for export using the (HTFA) technology. The exporters, who are cooperative members, buy their products for exports from farmers who are also cooperative members and bring it to NWC for treatment and packing before shipment overseas.
Nature’s Way Cooperative (Fiji) Ltd (NWC) was registered on August 15th 1995 to own and operate the new quarantine treatment facility on behalf of Fiji’s fruit growers and exporters. The technology transfer was part of a partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID). New Zealand was a part of this program – providing complementary technical assistance and critical start-up working capital.
Today, as a result, Fiji has a thriving and growing industry in the export of fruit fly host commodities to New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia. NWC now has around 260 shareholding members, most of which are small farmers located in the Sigatoka Valley and in the Nadi area.
Fiji exports two main breadfruit varieties – Bale Kana & Uto Dina – which have highly desirable characteristics for fresh export including:
- good eating qualities when harvested at the mature green stage, particularly from the perspective of the Samoan community;
- good keeping qualities when harvested at the mature green stage, including tolerance to the HTFA quarantine treatment;
- smaller uniform size (when mature) – preferred for quarantine treatment, packing, shipping and marketing.