Parent company of FIJI Water to get into major agriculture development

Parent company of FIJI Water to get into major agriculture development

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 21/05/2024
Photo: Supplied

The Wonderful Company, the parent company of FIJI Water and one of the world’s biggest and most successful agricultural enterprises, has announced plans to pursue major agriculture development opportunities in Fiji which includes the growing of Persian seedless limes, Mexican seeded limes, lemons, papayas and mangoes.

This initiative includes plans to cultivate the five fruit tree crops to contribute to Fiji’s economic growth and increase the country’s sustainable practices.

fijivillage News has received confirmation that in April, experts from the company which produces two-thirds of America’s fruits and over 90 percent of its nuts from its base of operations in California’s Central Valley visited farms, businesses, research stations and potential growing sites across Fiji.

Their on-the-ground research confirmed that the conditions for growing limes in Fiji are similar to the company’s 8,600-acre citrus operation in Mexico, making them the largest commercial citrus farm in the country.

Based on the favourable tropical climate, suitable soil and land accessibility, the southwestern corner of Viti Levu from Nadi to Sigatoka appears to be the ideal region to grow Persian seedless limes, Mexican seeded limes, lemons, papayas and mangoes.

The company has a further exploratory trip planned in July when company experts from America will consider honey and beekeeping opportunities in Fiji, and ways that the company may be able to bring its expertise in that industry to Fiji.

Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka says they are very fortunate to announce that The Wonderful Company, the parent company of FIJI Water, is expanding its operations within Fiji in a way that will create even more economic opportunity.

Rabuka says their mutual drive to innovate in the agriculture space fuels their mission to enhance accessibility and promote the consumption of locally-grown fruits.

The Prime Minister says The Wonderful Company and its owners, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, have pioneered the future of agriculture with their advanced farming methods and they are pleased to leverage their shared resources to create a sustainable food system and a brighter future for the people of Fiji.

Rabuka says they have been great partners to Fiji for many decades and they look forward to collaborating with Wonderful and the Resnicks again.

The-Wonderful-Company-examines-soil-samples-in-Sigatoka

The Wonderful Company is known for its committment to sustainable farming, having invested over USD$400 million in sustainable farming including water-efficient irrigation systems, eco-friendly pest and bee management, carbon reduction, and more.

The company and its founders, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, have also made significant financial gifts to universities across the world to conduct research on sustainability and sustainable agriculture.

Stewart Resnick, chairman, president and co-owner of The Wonderful Company says their hope is to build a better future for Fiji’s local growers and consumers by ensuring secure and sustainable food supplies.

He says the opportunity to help create new economic opportunities within Fiji that can empower generations is important to them.

Resnick says they care deeply about the people and success of Fiji, a country that they are proud to operate in and give back to in many different ways.

The Wonderful Company and the Resnicks have committed more than USD $2.5 billion in philanthropy and corporate social responsibility efforts globally, much of which is centred on tackling issues of education, health and wellness, affordable housing, infrastructure, the arts, and sustainability, to make a meaningful difference in California’s Central Valley, Fiji, and beyond.

Launched in 2007, the FIJI Water Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Fiji, has invested over FJD$35 million in community development, access to safe water, education, health and wellness, and environmental sustainability.

To harness pathways beyond traditional export markets like New Zealand and Australia, The Wonderful Company will also work closely with key stakeholders from the Fijian government and the private sector on various market development initiatives.

They say collectively, the group will strive to reduce the country’s trade deficit with fruit that can instead be grown locally, which remains a key priority for the Fijian Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade.

Prior to launching a full-fledged operation, the company plans to first establish a propagation facility to produce high-quality nursery stock for its own use and for its grower partners, which will help eliminate biosecurity risks such as pests and diseases, and serve as a model for commercial nursery operations in Fiji.

As America’s largest beekeeper with 80,000 hives, the company also plans to leverage its expertise to enhance the honey industry in Fiji and support biodiversity.

While honeybees are a vital part of the global ecosystem, they act as highly efficient pollinators of food crops as well as wild flora.

wonderful-company-sm

Whether its offering training sessions for local beekeepers and conducting research studies to providing honey processing facilities, the company plans to work to improve the industry’s infrastructure over time.

Ultimately, through its newly established beekeeping operation in Fiji, the company hopes to improve the honey business domestically for retail and food service purposes, as well as explore potential export markets.

These ongoing efforts also include participating in feasibility studies for solar farms, to further solidify renewable energy across Fiji.

The Wonderful Company and the Resnicks say they have a longstanding commitment to invest in the communities where their employees live, work and raise families.

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