Fiji exporters hail success of PT&I’s workshops

The Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) NZ Path to Market (P2M) workshops in Fiji last week drew enthusiastic participation from more than 50 exporters across the country. While 19 export companies participated in the workshop in Nadi, as many as 37 attended the one in Suva.

Participants at the PT&I Path to Market workshop in Fiji last week.
Participants at the PT&I Path to Market workshop in Fiji last week.

Participating exporters came from a range of sectors including information and communication technologies, manufacturing, garments, hardwood and timber, property investment, farming and agribusiness, food and beverage, kava, honey, coffee, the banking sector, beauty products, creative arts, logistics and even the automotive sector.

P2M is PT&I’s export capability building programme that combines the range of export facilitation services and expertise provided by PT&I to help export ready and export capable businesses enter new export markets. The content of the workshops is specifically targeted at existing and new exporters giving further insights and overviews of getting products to market.

The programme is an extended business model that covers a series of methodical steps that are delivered in partnership by PT&I NZ and an Economic Development Agency in each country. In this instance, PT&I partnered with the Fiji Export Council to deliver the workshops.

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Participation was enthusiastic and the feedback received was positive.

The P2M programme begins with workshops, which are essentially a practical assessment of export capability vis-à-vis requirements of the New Zealand market. In a six step process, the workshops are followed up with building a strong strategic link to the local economic development partner; organising a sales mission to New Zealand; applying learnings from the sales mission; introducing exporters to prospective buyers and distributors in New Zealand; and feedback analyses, quantification of deals and follow up to B2B meetings.

The workshops in Fiji were delivered by PT&I Auckland senior managers and export marketing expert David Powell, led by PT&I NZ Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade. “The workshops were part of a very successful week for the New Zealand Fiji Business Council Trade Mission ably lead by Chairman Chandar Sen, Consul General Harish Lodia and High Commissioner Filimone Waqabaca,” Mr Greenslade said.

Manuel Valdez, Head of Investment and Chief Operating Officer, who conducted the investment segment of the workshop said the feedback from the participants was positive. The course content and manner of delivery had been revised from previously delivered workshops.

The workshops received wide publicity in Fiji and the region.
The workshops received wide publicity in Fiji and the region.

“The addition of breakout sessions with specialised content on export, pricing and investment were greatly appreciated,” Mr Valdez told Pacific Periscope. Trade Commissioner Greenslade led the breakout session on pricing, while Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong and Mr Valdez conducted the marketing and investment breakout sessions respectively.

Mr Furlong said, “Step one of the Path to Market Programme proved to be a very effective way to assist businesses to build export capability and its format which includes a focused approach with plenary sessions coupled with smaller breakout groups contributed to this success.”

“Many of the companies wanted PT&I and the Fiji Export Council to host more such capacity building workshops in future,” Mr Valdez added.

The workshops received wide media coverage in all major media outlets in Fiji and also the rest of the Pacific, with more than six articles appearing in the print media alone throughout the week. “The profile of the events across the week certainly competed for media space — these included reports of the Business Council Trade Mission activities, The PT&I P2M Workshops and of course the Super 15 Rugby,” Mr Greenslade said. “The Attorney General made comment to me in a light hearted manner that he was seeing a lot of me these days by following the photographs in the newspaper!”

During a reception, New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Ramsden formally welcomed the delegation acknowledging PT&I and the Pacific Foundation Cooperation as an effective team adding value to the trade mission by building programmes around that.

PT&I NZ Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade speaking at a session .
PT&I NZ Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade speaking at a session .

Mr Greenslade thanked partners in Fiji –Jone Cavubati and Malcolm Ralisa at Fiji Exporters Council, Craig Strong at Fiji New Zealand Business Council and Godo Muller-Teut and his team at Investment Fiji. He also acknowledged the strong social and business links that the Suva Rotary Club plays in civil society. “Their network and the kind invitation to attend the annual handover Dinner was much appreciated,” he said.

P2M workshops have already been run in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu which resulted in 21 companies from these countries attending the Pasifika Festival earlier this year in Auckland. Likewise, several food and beverage products displayed last week at the Fine Food New Zealand show in Auckland at the Pacific Islands stand, were from Pacific companies that have already participated in past P2M workshops.

“This was the second P2M PT&I has run in Fiji and the impact of it on local businesses is readily apparent,” Mr Greenslade said.

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