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EU helps ginger exporter achieve international acreditation

Kaiming Agro Processing Limited, a ginger export company based in Navua, Fiji, has taken positive steps towards ensuring that its products meet high food safety standards.

Assisted by the Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, the company has acquired ISO22000 accreditation, which means that Kaiming Agro’s food safety management system is of an international standard.

The IACT project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The accreditation is expected to increase the company’s competitiveness in the global market.

The Managing Director of Kaiming Agro, Kaiming Qiu, said that the accreditation will help his company comply with the strict international market requirements, especially those imposed by western countries.

'Having ISO22000 certification will give our current buyers and potential customers more confidence in us. It will certainly increase our market share and our profits,' he added.

Qiu commended the key role played by the IACT project in assisting Kaiming Agro with training of staff, system introduction, documentation, professional consultancy and financial support for the audit required for the accreditation.

'Given the technical support provided by IACT, we now have better trained staff and adequate documentation of techniques, methods and procedures to help ensure and maintain the quality of our products to the markets we supply,' he said.

Since starting in 2006, Kaiming Agro has expanded greatly. Last year, the company made around FJD 4 million, mostly from the export of processed ginger products such as ginger confectionery, but also from the sale of other root crops. Their markets are in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

Qiu expects to export to other regions in the near future, as demand for Fiji-grown ginger continues to increase in the US and European markets.

His company is one of 42 enterprises being supported in the Pacific by the IACT project. This project aims to strengthen the export capacity of Pacific Island countries and territories in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock.

The IACT Export Processing Officer, Apiame Cegumalua, says that Kaiming Agro’s accreditation is evidence of the company’s commitment to the production of safe food for consumers, and efficient management of its food safety system.

According to Cegumalua, this is not an easy feat, as any company hoping to achieve international accreditation will need the ongoing commitment of its top management and workers to ensure that safety practices are maintained.

She said that, once accredited, the responsibility is on the business to monitor its practice and maintain the standards; renewal of certification depends on a successful annual audit.

Cegumalua and her team, together with a consultant, worked with Kaiming Agro to help the company reach the compliance level to be ISO22000 certified. This process lasted almost nine months.

Cegumalua said that consumers nowadays are well informed about the health risks associated with food-borne diseases and are very careful when it comes to buying food products. Food safety accreditation helps assure consumers of the safety, quality and reliability of the product, its supplier and distributor.

The IACT project is currently working with four enterprises in Fiji and two in Tonga to achieve Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems compliance and accreditation. The Fiji-based enterprises are Bula Island Food Supplies, Maqere Exports Ltd, Popular Kava Ltd and Crab Company (Fiji) Ltd, while the Tongan companies are Nishi Trading Company Ltd and Jones Trading Ltd.

Kaiming Agro achieved HACCP accreditation in 2012 with assistance from IACT project’s predecessor, the EU-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project.

ENDS

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