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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Opportunities for Fiji's black pearls

The Fiji Trade Commission in the USA is conducting market research to identify niche market opportunities for black pearl exports from the country.

The primary objective of the research is to open access to the USA for Fiji's black pearl farmers, especially village based farmers, and to boost growth and development of the local industry.

Black pearls from Fiji is an emerging resource based commodity that holds a lot of potential for growth and expansion, but needs direct support in marketing and market access, according to the Fiji Trade Commission.

Fiji's black pearl industry is relatively new and small with 10 farms (four owned by foreigners and six by local villages) in operation in the Vanua Levu area and started in 1998.

The Fisheries Department in Fiji said that the study would be good given that finding the right export market is what the industry lacks. USA is the world's biggest buyer of black pearls.

Tahiti leads Pacific Island countries in the export of pearls to the USA with average earnings of $US45 million ($F73m) per year during the period from 2004 to 2006.

In comparison, Fiji began pearl cultivation and production less than 10 years ago and averaged $US151,138 ($F245,040) annually in exports to the USA over the past three years. The industry is targeting an annual export of F$50 million of the product in 10 years.

The study will cover issues including market entry requirements, demand for loose and mounted pearls, basic customer or buyer profiles, location of buyers in the USA contact, trends and constraints, and lessons to be learnt from Tahiti.

A presentation of the findings of the study will be made to the public in Suva and Savusavu in June or July 2007.

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