FIJI PIG FARMERS ASSOCIATION
The Fiji Pig Farmers Association started informally many years ago when a few of the farmers met with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss issues of interest. Although not meeting regularly this relatively small association would meet as and when issues arose.
The association was formalized about 3 years ago and has been one of the most active associations in the FCLC. It was one of the first associations to make use of the FCLC’s access to Government by raising the issue of subsidized pork entering the country. With the support of Government this issue was resolved.
The Association started with a few of the larger farmers and represents about 2,000 sows in commercial production and about 20,000 pigs in total. In the last year with the registration effort of the FCLC staff over thirty farmers attended the last meeting in November.
The philosophy of the association is that the knowledge of the industry rests with the farmers themselves. Simply allowing them to meet identifies issues and ideas which can be taken forward.
Pig industry helps build FCLC
Despite its challenges, Fiji’s pig industry has proven to be resilient showing positive growth in recent years capturing 80% of the country’s pork market and ensuring food security.
While its main income is fróm bacon, primarily fróm the tourism industry, it also supplies the fresh meat market trade and benefits fróm the traditional use of pork in local functions.
“And with pork now cheaper than imported lamb, there should be an opportunity to grow the industry.” said Chairman of the Fiji Pig Farmers Association (FPFA) Simon Cole
He said to achieve this success the industry has invested in excess of $16 million with the bulk provided by its 16 Association members, the largest producers of pig products in the country.
The 16 members have been the foundation of the Association but we see a major opportunity for growth with the launching of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC).
“While these are the largest producers of pig products in the country we also recognize the contribution made by the large number of smaller farmers scattered throughout Fiji that supply their own niche markets.”
Mr. Cole is also the Interim Chairman of FCLC that recently launched its Secretariat to be located in Lautoka.
The main objective of the FCLC is to act as an apex forum for advocacy to better represent the needs of farmers to Government and stakeholders, including banks, aid and rehabilitation agencies and potential new investors, as well as raise the profile of Fiji’s farmers involved with crops and livestock production.
“The Pig Association is one of the twelve associations that form the Council.The other associations are Dairy, Beef, Sheep/Goat, Root Crop, Ginger, Kava, Honey, Fruit, Salad Vegetables and Coconut Associations, as well as Food Processors.
Mr. Cole said that the association has been working closely with the Ministry of Primary Industry to continue to reach out to the pig farmers, scattered around the country.
“We are aware that these village pig farmers may never be able to expand to a large operation but we often assist them with feed, advice and the supply of genetically improved breeding stock to help them maintain and grow their business”
With the launch of the FCLC we are encouraging these smaller farmers to become members of the Association and have developed applications for mobile phones specifically designed for the farmers. “One application, for instance, will allow them to join FCLC and the Association fróm their mobile phone.”
Mr. Cole said that a strong association can be of major benefit to its members and he used the Pig Association as an example of its worth.
“For instance we have been quite active this year working with Government vets to resolve issues on the importation storage and use of medicines, working with the Commerce Commission on its intervention into the livestock feed industry and recently explaining to the to the relevant authorities the threat of cheap, subsidized imports of bacon, that could endanger the industry.”
“But,” he said, “what will ultimately be of importance is the success of FCLC, for with all of the agriculture sector working together, and that is the purpose of the Council, we can make major strides in ensuring food security in the country, increased exports, and a better living for our farmers.”
In October the market was “ok”, or a “steady market” However demand is expected to pick up in the next few weeks as we approach Christmas. Supplies are steady to short.
FMIB looking for more pigs for the Magiti trade they are currently paying $7.00 for 50 to 60 kg dressed weight and $6.00 for above 70 kg.
Farmers interested in joining the Fiji Pig Producers Association must own a minimum of 50 pigs or 20 breeding sows.
Get in touch with the association for enquiries