The “Fijian Made and Buy Fijian Campaign” was mooted by the Fijian Government in 2009 primarily to promote and raise the profile of Fijian made products and produce, both domestically and internationally through a national branding strategy. The ‘brand’ is categorized with different representations, each having to meet a certain compliance criteria as endorsed by Cabinet in 2011 and reflected in the Industry Emblem Decree and Regulations 2011 being: ‘Fijian Made’, ‘Fijian Product’, ‘Fijian Packed’, ‘Fijian Crafted’, ‘Fijian Grown’, ‘Fijian Assembled’, ‘Fijian Designed’ and ‘Fijian Sewn’.
This initiative supports government’s import substitution policy aimed at promoting production of items which are heavily imported but can be easily produced or grown in the country. Fiji is well capable of cultivating and processing produce such as rice, potato, honey and pawpaw, pineapple, bananas, to name a few. At the same time, it has a good mix of skilled crafters who make authentic handicrafts depicting the fine culture and heritage of the country; and established manufacturers who make fine products to supply to the local as well as overseas markets. The small and medium enterprises (SME’s) also have comparative advantage in producing some lucrative niche products which have pharmaceutical and health advantages such as coconut virgin oil, noni juice and honey.
The Fijian Made and Buy Fijian Campaign has been initiated in light of three major issues. Firstly, to reduce the rising import bills and the country’s negative balance of payment position over the years. The focus has particularly been on manufactured items, such as food (animal & vegetable products); clothing and wood made items such as furniture and handicrafts.
Secondly, to build a sense of loyalty amongst the Fijians to buy their own creations to assist employment generation and expansion of the manufacturing sector to improve the livelihood of the nation as a whole. This basically reflects the concept of ‘thinking globally, acting locally’.
Thirdly, the branding strategy intends to position Fijian made products in the international markets to promote exports to strengthen our declining export sector.
7 businesses have been licensed to use the Industry emblems on a range of products. The Ministry is currently processing new applications and is engaging with the private sector and stakeholders to ensure that the Campaign is implemented in an inclusive and sustained manner.
March has been declared as the Manufacturers Month which aims to support our growing manufacturing sector and showcase their products. This will be done through various events and promotional activities.
The rest of the months will target the other crucial sectors relevant to the Campaign, such as small, micro and medium enterprises, agriculture, handicrafts, to name a few.
March led by the Attorney General and Minister for Industry & Trade in December, 2011 to mark “Buy Fijian Made Month”.