Project Everest

Project Summary

[Project Summary] - DArT Fiji - December 2019

Abbey Dyson
Abbey Dyson | 2 months ago | in Impact Partner - DArT

In December 2019, DArT I and DArT II began assessment of the agricultural supply chain in Fiji in order to validate the product-market fit of Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) in Fiji. The teams conducted surveys with smallhold, subsistence and commercial farmers as well as middlemen, produce retailers and government.

DArT I and DArT II were both tasked to empathise with smallholder and subsistence farmers. DArT I was specifically tasked to empathise with middlemen and produce retailers. DArT II was specifically tasked to empathise with commercial farmers and government. DArT II also uncovered a gap in the planned data collection and begun empathising with produce exporters.


Experiment 1 (Smallholder and Subsistence): 152 surveys completed

There is a significant amount of subsistence farms within villages that only operate to feed their family; no interest in selling to markets/middlemen. Those smallholder farmers that use middlemen are typically unhappy with the price offered for their produce. Looking like a Green Light.

Experiment 2 (Middlemen): 20 surveys completed

A middleman is anyone who transports produce from farms to the market. Because of the unfair prices that middlemen offer, many farmers act as their own middlemen and produce retailer; suggesting the roles within the supply chain overlap more than originally thought.

Experiment 2 (Commercial): 16 surveys completed

Commercial farms in Fiji are farms that predominantly supply to exporters. These farms are registered through the Ministry of Agriculture. Registered farms must supply exporters even if local market price is better than the export market price.

Experiment 3 (Produce Retailers): 10 surveys completed 

Produce retailers are those who sell produce straight to the consumer, relating particularly to those who sell produce at their own stall. Based on the surveys conducted with produce retailers, it's reasonable to suggest that most gather produce from their own farms or from middlemen in the market most arriving around 7-8am and have reasonable comprehension as to what chemicals are used on their produce and it’s quality.

Experiment 3 (Government): 4 surveys completed

A lot more research is needed in this space. However, from the information gathered from both smallhold and commercial farmers, it appears as if the Ministry of Agriculture is not providing the necessary help to struggling farmers. 

Experiment 4 (NGO’s and Universities): 1 meeting booked

A lot more research is needed in this space. Some smaller colleges, like Cuvu Technical College, do not have an online presence and do not have email addresses. They might be contactable via the headman of the village they are in. 

Exporter: 4 surveys completed

This experiment was not planned, however a gap in the planned research was discovered. There are four major exporters in the Sigatoka Valley and some of them interact with over 100 farms. The relationship between exporters and Biosecurity needs to be explored further.




  1. Survey smallholder and subsistence farmers

Meet with more smallholder and subsistence farmers by contacting villages in order to complete the surveys. DArT December has already visited a lot of villages, but most of the villages did not have all their farmers present when trekkers visited. 

  1. Gather middlemen contacts and seed information

Ask for middleman contacts and where their seeds are sourced from. Try to collect images of the seed packaging. 

  1. Understand Decembers middlemen definitions for data integrity

When collecting middleman surveys, DArT December has developed a definition which is based on the context of when middlemen have been surveyed. For example, they are middleman if we are interviewing when they are delivering produce to the markets, even if they are farmers or retailers at other times.

  1. University and NGO contacts

Check replies from emails sent to Universities and NGOs and organise meetings with them. Attend the meetings. One has already been booked with the Pacific Farmer Organisation on Friday, 10th January 2020.



  1. Gain contact with seed breeders and understand the supply chain

Make contact with seed breeders at the Ministry of Agriculture [MoA] to understand the breeding process and ask about the seed supply chain in Fiji. Where do the seeds come from? Who imports them? Are they modified by MoA before being distributed?

  1. Further understand Biosecurity’s role in the supply chain

It is understood that biosecurity is a liaison between exporters and foreign markets, however the specific role of biosecurity needs to be fleshed out.

  1. Food processors supply network

The food processors network needs to be explored, Agrana Fruit (SPC) in Sigatoka will be a good lead as they have had a lot of contact with FarmED in the past. Where do they source the produce from? Do they have contracts with farmers? Are there regulations in this space?

  1. Government contacts

DArT II and FarmED have already made some government contacts within the Ministry of Agriculture; see the Hubspot page for MoA. However, there are many more research stations around the country. A larger geographical sample size would yield better data for government interviews. Attempt contact with the Senior Research Officers at multiple research stations. The middle and upper valley road research stations are yet to be explored.

Overall, considering that December was the first iteration of DArT in Fiji, the month was considerably successful. December resulted in the collection of a large amount of data for DArT and a strong foundational understanding of the produce supply chain in Fiji.

Ongoing Experiments

Smallholder and Subsistence Farmers 


Commercial Farmers

Produce Retailers


NGO’s and Universities
(No working draft experiment post yet)

Please find the Project Summary attached below. 



edited on 22nd December 2019, 20:12 by Courtney Gribble

Courtney Gribble 2 months ago

Status label added: Project Summary

Reply 0