This project aims to strengthen value chains for high-value vegetables through innovations in technology and business organization.
This project will increase Fijian, Samoan and Tongan farmers’ capacity to produce high quality vegetables in protected cropping systems. It will also develop value chains to connect farmers using these systems to high value markets for fresh vegetables.
Vegetable production in the Pacific Islands does not match local demand. Vegetable imports supply high value hospitality and food service markets, and Fiji alone has a shortfall of several hundred tonnes per year. If local producers met this demand by producing high value vegetables, they and their communities would earn more income.
Protected cropping for small- and medium-scale farmers could transform vegetable production systems in these countries. Research into biophysical and socio-economic issues must be done if adoption is to be broad-based and increase livelihoods.
These countries have rapidly increased adoption in the past two years, supported by a project on protective cropping under the Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI - AGB/2008/044) and by investment programs. Protected cropping technologies suitable for smallholders have also been evaluated in the Philippines and Vietnam. Production capability, however, does not ensure market access.
Co-ordinated small-scale grower groups established through PARDI’s Participatory Guarantee Schemes (PGS) demonstrated that supporting grower groups to build business and marketing skills can help smallholders to gain and maintain access to high value markets. Further exploratory research and capacity building is required.
Based on these experiences, this project aims to increase and consolidate smallholder vegetable growers’ ability to generate income through technological innovation (especially the development of protected cropping systems) and enterprise.