Friday, 3 July 2015

PARDI market day proves huge success

Over 150 researchers, farmers, agribusiness and government representatives from Australia and across the Pacific came together in Fiji this week. The occasion was the PARDI Impact Workshop and Market Day. An event marking the completion of the first phase of the Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI) and a chance to network, share experiences and see firsthand the impact of agribusiness research on economic and social development in the region.

ACIAR's Tara McKenzie learning about breadfruit from stallholder Livai Tora. Source: ACIAR

Participants were treated to a series of workshops highlighting the outcomes and implications of ACIAR-funded agribusiness research projects in the Pacific and also to take part in an interactive market day. The market day proved to be a highly popular and innovative way to present the outcomes of agricultural research for development.  Sixteen stalls showcased a myriad of diverse research projects and the community success stories that ACIAR and PARDI have contributed to over the past five years.

Produce on display at the market day. Source: ACIAR

Projects on exhibition at the market day covered everything including: research to support the growing of breadfruit as commercial and export crop; value chain analysis to improve access to high-value domestic markets for vegetables; cocoveneer as a new sustainable coconut product; projects helping to gain a fairer share of the booming sea cucumber market for fishers in the Pacific; and projects that focus on the development of edible seaweed.

Fijian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Inia Seruiratu. Source: ACIAR

The PARDI market day provided the perfect platform to hear strategic perspectives for inclusive agribusiness development in Fiji and the Pacific from the Fijiian Government, Australian Government and private sector representatives. Mr Inia Seruiratu the Fiji Minster for Agriculture; Ric Wells, Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Gary Tarte, Manager and Owner of Wainiyaku Estate, all spoke to an enthusiastic audience about the value of strong partnerships with the Australian Government and private sector to ensure agricultural development.

Another highlight of the event was the launching of the latest edition of ACIAR’s Partners magazine, focusing on ACIAR’s engagement with Pacific Island countries. In particular, this edition highlights the imperative to support economic and environmental resilience in the region.

Ric Wells, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launching Partners. Source: ACIAR

In launching Partners, Ric Wells said “The stories in this magazine provide examples of how innovative research, in partnership with the private sector, can play a catalytic role in the development process.”

“I am delighted to commend to readers this edition of Partners magazine for the insights it provides into the role that research can play in the economic development of our region.”

By Andy Heaney, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, ACIAR

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