Fiji farmer-exporter wins top global award

Ranadi Plantation Partnership, along with three other farms, has been awarded the prestigious Global G.A.P. (Global Partnership for Good Agricultural Practices) Award for 2016.

Jodi Smith of Ranadi Plantations
Jodi Smith of Ranadi Plantations

Fiji’s first and only Global G.A.P. certified farm, Ranadi Plantation has been exporting organic ginger to New Zealand. Since achieving G.A.P. and organic certification, Ranadi has regularly opened its doors to other farmers, training them in recycling, tropical polyculture farming and sustainable soil management.

Chinese-Fijian New Zealander, Jodi Smith, is Ranadi’s chief executive and will be in Amsterdam to collect the award next week. With no formal agricultural experience, but with wide-ranging skillsets and a profound desire to make a difference, Smith began in 2013 to turn the Pacific Harbour based farm from a subsistence family growing operation into a trend-setting commercial unit specialising in the growing, packing and export of organic ginger.

Under Ms Smith’s guidance, Ranadi aims to empower its subsistence farmer suppliers by giving them the knowledge, systems and market access to assist them in creating their own cooperatives. As well as imparting knowledge of organic, sustainable and efficient farming techniques, Ms Smith has made the women a centrepiece of the farm’s strategy.

The empowering of women, in what is traditionally a strongly patrilineal society, through their on-the-job education, weekly group meetings and their increasingly autonomous involvement in running the farm using the G.A.P. practices is a strategy that has paid rich dividends, Ms Smith says. Three of Ranadi’s six team leaders and its Chief Operating Officer are all indigenous women over the age of 40.

rsz_ranadi_plantation_logoMs Smith told Pacific Periscope in Fiji last week that Ranadi Plantation was in the process of involving farms across the country. She said the farm was working with a group of farmers in a remote part of Vanua Levu, and is aiming for this organic cooperative to become Fiji-wide. Its commitment is not only to pay a fair per kilo price, but also to ensure farmers receive a percentage of the final export buying price, an innovative concept that she has introduced.

Ms Smith’s advocacy for women and good agricultural practice (G.A.P.) is no longer just confined to Ranadi, its employees, suppliers and customers. She sits on the Fiji-New Zealand Business Council and is working with POETCom (Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community) to re-establish the Fiji Organics Association.

As well as rewarding G.A.P principles and practices followed by Ms Smith and Ranadi Plantation Partnership, the 2016 Global G.A.P award is also an acknowledgment that women in traditional societies can make a difference in a male-dominated economic activity.

The Global G.A.P. Summit will be officially opened by Dutch Royal family member Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau in Amsterdam on September 27. The summit will hear from 63 speakers and representatives from 49 countries.

For more information email Joe Fuavao, Trade Development Manager, PT&I, at joe.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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