Excited chattering filled the lobby. An informative exchange between exhibitors and participants of the expo, some exciting sights such as different varieties of crops, and entrepreneurs with their products.
What caught my eye?
Of the many booths, the one that caught my eye was the Antigua & Barbuda Network of Rural Women Producers (ANBNROP). All the way from the Caribbean, this organisation works mainly with women. I am not biased towards this booth because I am a feminist, but mainly because the products this organisation had to offer was something that had not reached to this part of the world. One particular product was their mango sauce. Why did no one in Fiji ever think of this? We also have mangoes, imagine having a juicy chicken breast grilled and served with mango sauce. How island like right? 😉 There is a lot we have to learn from this particular organisation.
What I passed?
The Caribbean entrepreneur had set such high standard that I could simply not lower my expectation from the next stall. The next stall Kaiming Agro Processing LTD a local company based in Navua, had something unique on offer. I appreciate their effort in turning ginger into ginger candies, and I have to admit that the candies did look appealing. As a foodie, unfortunately I felt more could have been done with ginger, not just limit it to candies. As I took a bite into their ginger candy on sample, for some reasons my taste buds couldn’t fathom the sugar coated ginger, or maybe it’s not versed to such creativity; you be the judge.
Some new discoveries
It can’t be just that The displays were not just limited to agriculture and food, what comes in your mind when someone talks about agritourism? Well if you can only think of the relationship between chefs and farmers, you’re wrong. The WIBDI Samoa is an organisation that also deals with women in business. Some of their most unique products included organic insect repellent, maybe I have been living under a rock but the idea sounded so foreign and appealing. The repellent is a combination of organic virgin coconut oil and distilled citronella.
Where do we stand?
I hate to be this outspoken, but really in comparison to what other countries are doing, including our neighbouring islands, it’s really impossible to come to a verdict. On one hand, we have companies like Reniu and Pure Fiji that make body lotion, oil and soaps from coconut. While on the other hand, we have organisations that are so innovative that they grow tea leaves in their countries. And the climate in Caribbean is not too different from Fiji! There is just so much to learn from this display and it’s a wake-up call to the ministry of agriculture and also the people from Fiji that there is just so much we can learn from other countries/regions and implement to further develop our agri-tourism sector.
Words spoken, connections made, don’t be an oddball by missing out on important details. Stay tuned to #PacAgriTo for live updates!
Blogpost by Avneel Abhishay, Social Reporter for the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week 2015.