Our History

Get the scoop on our beginnings and why agribusiness research matters.

Our Now

Learn more about our current focus, research across Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Our People

Meet some of our team, friendly faces working remotely across four countries.

Our History

Promoting sustainable livelihood outcomes for Pacific Islands households through research and innovation, catalysing and informing a more vibrant, diverse and viable agribusiness sector.

When it comes to improving livelihoods and overcoming poverty, significant challenges face Pacific island countries. Fluctuations in economy, the impact of the global economic crisis, a number of natural disasters, difficulties maintaining infrastructure, distance from markets, subsistence supply and the negative effects of climate change are some of the high hurdles the region must address.

Pacific Island countries and international agencies understand that they way to meet many of these challenges is through an efficient and flourishing agribusiness sector, crucial in reducing poverty, improving the trade balance and forging a road toward sustainable, economic growth.

However Pacific Islands agribusiness faces many disadvantages when compared to other parts of the world, competing with those who have better infrastructure, vast markets, investment opportunities and cross-sector returns (for example, retail and/or tourism).

Despite the challenges, agribusiness has enormous potential to develop value chains in agriculture, forestry and fisheries that a more efficient, more inclusive and seizing new opportunities for primary production, value-adding and marketing.

Enter the Pacific Agribusiness Research and Development Initiative or for short, PARDI.

Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and facilitated by a consortium of partners, PARDI is seeks to promote sustainable livelihood outcomes for Pacific Islands households through research and innovation, catalysing and informing a more vibrant, diverse and viable agribusiness sector.

The original project was implemented from 2010-2015, placing a geographical focus on Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati. The initiative identified promising technologies in the Pacific Islands agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.

We now embark on a second phase, a four year plan rolling out throughout 2017-2020 and primarily focused on Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga. 

Growing on the achievements of our predecessor, PARDI2 explores important questions around capacity constraints that impede innovation at a scale that will substantially impact economies and livelihoods in the region.

Our Now

Exploring the why and how of successful agribusiness development, innovation and improving community livelihoods.

Growing on the achievements of our predecessor, PARDI2 explores important questions around capacity constraints impeding innovation, alongside ways to improve marketing opportunities and boost agribusiness in the Pacific Islands.

Facilitated by a network of collaborative teams across universities, private sector players, government agencies and non-profit organisations, we’re studying the why and how of successful agribusiness development and documenting the benefit to community livelihoods. We are investigating how to adjust economic benefits to be more inclusive and sustainable, as well as means to overcome constraints and bottlenecks in the value chain.

The project spans 2017-2020, placing a geographical focus on Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu. In each country we work alongside Government Ministries, partnering across Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Commerce agencies and initiatives. 

In an effort to bolster other Pacific Islands research projects facilitated by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, we are also collaborating closely with existing efforts such as the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program.

From Australia, key partners include the University of the Sunshine Coast (implementing agency), The University of AdelaideThe University of Queensland and Southern Cross University.

Within the Pacific Islands key partners include the University of the South Pacific, The Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Development Forum, the Pacific Islands Private Sector OrganisationPacific Farmer Organisations, the Market Development Facility and UN Women.

Want to learn more? Check out the pillars supporting our mission.

July 2017

PARDI2 Commences

July 2017

2018

Agribusiness Success Stories

We’ve scoped the agribusiness landscape across Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu, seeking to understand common success factors – what are the ingredients for a successful Pacific Islands agribusiness?

2018

February-March 2019

Agriexperiences Talanoa

In collaboration with the Pacific Islands Development Forum, we’ll be holding an Agriexperiences Talanoa bringing together merging and established players within Fiji’s Agritourism sector. Together, we’ll explore the opportunities and challenges in developing agriculture-inspired tourism.

February-March 2019

March-April 2019

Agribusiness Masterclass

Together with our partners at The University of Adelaide, we’re rolling out an Agribusiness Masterclass, a comprehensive programme exploring agribusiness, the value chain and marketplace.

March-April 2019

2019

More Soon…

2019

Our People

Meet some of the team, a handful of players representing our collaborative network.

Evaluating the value chain from farm to market, brings together an array of skills, from researchers, scientists and academics, to extension workers, economists, business and marketing professionals.  

Comprising a core staff and key contributors, our team works remotely across four countries.

Lex Thomson

TEAM LEADER

Lex is Associate Adjunct Professor in agroforestry and Pacific Islands Agribusiness at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He has worked extensively on forestry, agroforestry and agricultural production systems in 45 tropical developing countries including assessing the impacts of climate change on Pacific Islands forests and plantation forestry. Previously he has led Bioversity International’s global forest biodiversity research program, CSIRO’s South Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Initiative and the SPC-EU Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade

Marita Manley

RESEARCH FELLOW

Marita is a resource economist by background and has worked in the area of agriculture, food security and climate change for over 15 years. She’s passionate about the role of sustainable businesses in improving lives and livelihoods.

“Agribusinesses play a critical role in delivering economic growth, employment and food security. It is critical that the factors that underpin their success are better understood by researchers and they are supported with research that is relevant them to grow sustainably”

Salote Waqairatu

RESEARCh SCIENTIST

Salote is an aquaculturist with an interest in viral diseases of crustaceans and aquatic animal health. With over ten years of research experience she has been involved in a variety of research including aquaculture, agribusiness, fisheries and higher education. She has a strong background in academia and has taught at the Uni of the South Pacific, the Uni of Queensland and is currently an adjunct staff member at the Uni of Sunshine Coast. She also currently runs a landscaping business with her husband.

Patricia Bibi

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Patricia has a Masters of Business from Southern Cross University, with her thesis on Tourism, Indigenous Women and Empowerment. She was worked extensively in Fiji’s Tourism and Hospitality Management Sector and is passionate about developing agritourism in the Pacific and more widely extending the benefits of tourism.

Lavinia Kaumaitotoya

Collaborating Researcher

A proud farmer, Lavinia’s background includes extensive experience in senior executive management positions within the Transport and Aviation Industry. However her passion of farming propelled her to move to the agricultural sector. Lavinia who holds a Masters in Business from the University of the South Pacific, is the Program Manager for the Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation Network, is co-founder of the Fiji Crop & Livestock Council and is a member of Fiji’s Agritourism Taskforce. She was recently recognised for her work with Pacific women in agriculture, awarded the 2017 Stars of Oceania Award.

Illeyah Draunidalo

Communications Officer

Illeyah is an Interior Designer by background and has worked as the In House Designer for Na Hina Limited and Supercharged Energy handling Design, Communications, Website, and Marketing work.

A trip to Fiji’s organic island of Cicia, provided the inspiration behind Fantail Favours, a project that brings together her love for nature and a proud heritage directed towards the creation of wedding favours. Her passion for Fiji inspired her to join Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network, for which she also handles communications for our project.

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