Business plans line up market for locals

National

THE Department of Agriculture and Livestock has initiated business plans for coffee and cocoa which it hopes will bring investors to establish niche market for local farmers.
Secretary Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava told The National that the business plans would help cocoa and coffee farmers benefit from their products.
As part of the plan, an agri-business expert, Andrew Graffham, from London, will be meeting and consulting key stakeholders next week. “His job is to do two business plans, one for cocoa and one for coffee. That business plan is to tell us how to benefit from niche markets so that our farmers get more for their products,” Ila’ava said.
“We produce some of the best coffee in the world. We should not continue to export our high quality recognised coffee and cocoa to the general market.
“We want to reward our farmers for their efforts which are now being recognised internationally.”
Ila’ava said Graffham would work on business plans linking them to niche markets. He will be looking at operations, challenges, technical aspects of farming and transport and he will give us a plan.
“The third thing he will do is to bring in investors through the niche markets because he has the connections,” he said.
“The bottom line is the connecting our farmers directly to markets that pay higher than what we get.”

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