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Increase in Taro Imports from Fiji

8 Feb 2007--- A major importer of Fiji taro Montalvan’s Sales Inc based in California, increased its taro imports from Fiji to 50 containers in 2006. It could have been higher if not for the shortage of taro experienced in the latter part of 2006 due to dry weather in Fiji.

Increased imports by Montalvan helped raise overall taro imports in 2006 to $2.4m, an increase of over 4% on 2005.

Carmen Montalvan a principal of the company discussed this with Ambassador Jesoni Vitusagavulu & Trade Commissioner Ilisoni Vuidreketi when they met last month to discuss the company’s 2007 import plans from Fiji. Mrs. Montalvan indicated that she is optimistic that in 2007 they will exceed last year's purchases from Fiji. This eclipsed $1m in 2006 most of which were for the purchase of taro.

The company also imports products made by Fiji companies like Flour Mills of Fiji, Goodman Fielder, and Nestle.

Mrs. Carmen said that imports of Fiji made products can be increased significantly if companies improve the labeling and packaging of their products to meet Food & Drug Administration standards. She said her company could not sell some of the products it imported last year because they did not meet FDA labeling and packaging standards.

Mrs. Carmen is willing to conduct a seminar in Fiji to address labeling & packaging problems. The Fiji Trade Commission is arranging this seminar to be held in April/May as part of efforts to push new exports from Fiji to the US.

The embassy would like to see imports of these new products increase to $5m in 2007 and is working jointly with the Fiji Trade Commission to support efforts of exporters of these products achieve this target.