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Integrating protected cropping systems into high value vegetable value chains in the Pacific and Australia

Project Code: HORT/2014/080
Program: Horticulture
Research Program Manager: Ms. Irene Kernot
APR 2017
DEC 2020
Project Status: Legally Committed/Active
Key partners
Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries
Queensland Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries
Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Soil Health Pacific Ltd
University of Sunshine Coast


This project is strengthening value chains for high-value vegetables through innovations in technology and business organisation, and increasing and consolidating smallholder growers’ capacity. 

Vegetable production in the Pacific Islands does not match local demand. Imports supplying high value hospitality and food service markets contribute to Fiji experiencing a shortfall of several hundred tonnes per year. 

In Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, protected cropping systems for small- and medium-scale farmers is a new and potentially transformational technology for vegetable production. However, issues in both biophysical and socio-economic areas need to be resolved to enable broad adoption and positive livelihood outcomes. 

Establishing coordinated, small-scale grower groups and supporting them to develop business and marketing skills can help smallholders gain and maintain access to high value markets. 

This project aims to evaluate key technologies and production practices to enable protected cropping; increase adoption of protected cropping in market-oriented value chains for out-of-season vegetable production; and identify strengths and weaknesses of different market-oriented vegetable value chain configurations and build capacity of players.

Expected project outcomes

  • Increased capacity of project participants to adopt innovative cropping systems, and capability to encourage adoption of the technologies among other smallholder farmers. 
  • Increased business skills and value-chain connections required for smallholders to progress from opportunistic seasonal production to full-scale agribusiness and production of vegetables for targeted markets. 
  • Capacity to ensure consistent supply and product quality to meet market specifications. 
  • Improved livelihoods of vegetable growers and their communities as vegetables become a high-value cash crop with a longer production season. 
  • Improved health and lifestyles through increased domestic availability of vegetables. 
  • Greater business opportunities in production and input provision for the protected cropping systems.