There is a market for cod fish from Vanuatu in Australia, but the market cannot be sustained due to inconsistent supply.

This was revealed by Donald Pelam from the Marketing Division of the Department of Industry in Port Vila who is based at the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest in Sydney in his presentation to participants at the seafood export market development (SEMD) training currently taking place at Department of Agriculture at Tagabe in Port Vila.

Speaking on the subject of market availability for Vanuatu fisheries products in Australia, Pelam said Australia is a huge market for Vanuatu that is only three hours away.

But there are requirements that must be met that are more stringent than in New Zealand, which the Departments of Customs and Excise and Biosecurity could probably assist with. Some of these requirements include packaging and labeling and Pelam suggested the Marketing Division of the Department of Industry could assist producers with these as well as linking Vanuatu producers with buyers.

Interestingly, Donald Pelam told the participants at the training that there is a sizeable market for Vanuatu cod in Sydney that needed up to 1000kg of cod fish from Vanuatu every fortnight.

Unfortunately, this market that became available last year could not materialize into fruition due to the inability to sustain the market demand.

“As soon as the market for the Vanuatu cod was found and the buyers wanted that kind of quantity I contacted Alfred (Alfred Kalontas, the founder of ALFA Fishing in Vanuatu) and we decided that 1000kg a fortnight was not achievable and we decided to try 500kg.

“But we found that this also was not achievable due to lack of consistency to meet that sort of demand and we are still trying to see how we could make use of this opportunity,” Pelam said.

Fiji and New Zealand both sell cod fish to Australia and one suggestion for producers to think about to get Vanuatu cod into the Australian market including pricing.

The other one is for producers to form cooperatives, groups or organizations to work together to satisfy the Australian fisheries sector for Vanuatu fisheries products.

The process for accessing the Australian market for cod fish from Vanuatu requires that the importer must organize a letter of credit from an Australian bank and the exporter to meet the clearance requirements with assistance from the departments of Customs and Inland Revenue and Biosecurity if required.

The local market is one area suggested for producers to first try and meet such as the hotels and restaurants to build up their capacity to tackle the biggest markets overseas such as in Australia.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: Cell # 678 5460922

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