Vanuatu

Pacific exporters explore market opportunities in Japan

This was underscored during a recent virtual Japan Market Brief for exporters and stakeholders in the Pacific and facilitated by the Pacific Islands Centre (PIC) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus).

The Brief was attended by PHAMA Plus partners and stakeholders from industry working groups, government agencies and business associations.  It provided insight into doing business in Japan, market opportunities, market access information and service offering for interested exporters.

Sending money home to the Pacific more often

In July 2021, ANZ customers in Australia and New Zealand sent 11,668 International Money Transfers to family and friends in the Pacific, worth AUD$ $13.1m (US$9.6 million), a 21 percent increase in volume when compared to the same period last year.

“In the Pacific, international money transfers - also known as remittances - are about more than money: they are about family, safety, culture, and community,” ANZ Regional Executive, Pacific, Tessa Price said.

Ardern announces RSE workers allowed one-way quarantine-free travel

In a post-Cabinet media briefing Monday afternoon, Ardern announced Cabinet had made the decision to allow Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from those countries to travel one way, without using MIQ.

The countries this would apply to reflected the fact all three nations had experienced very few cases of Covid-19, she said. Tonga had seen zero Covid-91 cases, Samoa just one, and Vanuatu had four - all those cases having been at the border with no community transmission.

UK and WHO deliver essential medical equipment across the Pacific

The World Health Organization’s Division of Pacific Technical Support based in Suva, Fiji, and the WHO Country Liaison Office in Tonga are working to meet these varied needs alongside partners like the government of the United Kingdom (UK).

Pacific Island Food Revolution TV show increases people’s uptake of healthy food

The programme commissioned the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics to do the assessment in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Samoa.

The report found that watching and engaging with the show was responsible for an 'an excess improvement' on average of 33 per cent in Fiji, 38 per cent in Vanuatu, 146 per cent in Samoa, and 262 per cent in Tonga.

Simona Achitei the Grants and Program Manager for the show said the programme was trying a new development model to address the increasing rates of NCD’s.

Division over NZ's RSE worker boost, Pacific reacts

New Zealand's Government announced this month about 2400 more migrant workers will be allowed into the country for seasonal horticultural work, many from the Pacific Islands.

Pacific governments remain keen to get as many of their workers into New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer, or RSE, scheme, as possible

But Unions and economists say fruit and vegetable pickers from the Pacific Islands suffer high costs and poor pay and are often left with almost no money to send home.

ANZ extends fee waiver for money transfers to Pacific

Latest figures show the value and volume of transfers made by ANZ customers to the Pacific has increased substantially on the same period last year.

In February 2021 ANZ Australia and New Zealand customers sent a combined volume of 8,761 International Money Transfers worth AUD$12m (US$9.2 million) – a 95 percent increase in volume and 33 percent increase in value compared with the same period last year.

Money sent back to the Pacific from overseas, known as remittances, can make up a large part of a Pacific household's disposable income - up to 25 percent.

New campaign to help Pacific islanders tackle online fraud and keep remittances flowing

The ‘Get Safe Online Pacific’ guidance provides essential tips and information for people across the Pacific to help make sure their experience of sending or receiving money overseas is successful, safe and economical.

Sending and receiving remittances to and from Pacific Island countries has become hugely important to the very survival of island nations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the World Bank, in 2017 alone nearly 20% of Tonga’s GDP came from remittances.

Chef Robert Oliver on steering a Pacific food revolution

Oliver is the creator of Pacific Island Food Revolution, a televised contest in which people compete to create the best dish with ingredients from countries such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

He said the show aimed to encourage Pacific Island people to eat healthier, more traditional foods and to spice up the tourism industry by getting island restaurants offering tasty local dishes.

Many imported foods that have become popular among Pacific Island people are highly processed and contain large amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

Pacific Heads of Customs administrations pledge to work together

At the conclusion of the OCO Heads Annual Conference on October 20, themed “Working together to build a safer Blue Pacific”, leaders of Customs administrations in the region stated the loss in revenue collection for their governments due to the closure of borders as their biggest cost of COVID-19.

However, in addition to generating revenue for their governments, Customs administrations are increasingly being presented with other challenges such as the rise of illicit drugs, contraband goods and having to crew quarantine centers.