3 Jun 2009

Call for Pacific to join forces for economic gain

3:22 pm on 3 June 2009

Samoa's Women in Business Development Inc and Oxfam have joined forces to assist other Pacific countries to develop their potential in supplying export products like virgin coconut oil.

CEO Adi Tafuna'i says they have pioneered a model that has seen them exporting their oil to the British-based Body Shop company for distribution worldwide.

She was speaking at an Auckland conference on economic challenges facing the Pacific.

She says the Forum's Pacific Plan encourages regionalism and they support the move to share knowledge, experience and expertise with others.

"When disasters strike, small island economies are devastated. Why can't we work together in a spirit of helping rather than competing? We hope that the processes we're trying to set up in the region with Oxfam New Zealand is going to do just this. If we suffered another cyclone in Samoa that affected our ability to supply the Body Shop we would like to see another Pacific island country take over our market until we're back on our feet. If we can't do this we're going to lose our markets to other countries."

Adi Tafuna'i says they are making progress in diversifying other export products such as bananas and more recently nonu juice.