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Thousands of Pacific Island people and small communities rely heavily on successful small businesses and organizations for their jobs and livelihoods.

Auckland based Pacific Islands Trade & Invest’s (PT&I) Pacific Path to Market programme kicks off next week with the first group of Pacific businesspeople arriving on Thursday for Pasifika Festival 2017 in Auckland from 25-26th March.

Delegations of 25 companies from eight Pacific Islands countries is PT&I’s biggest delegation to attend and showcase their products at the Pasifika Festival under the PT&I Pacific Path to Market programme.

The companies are from Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

The Pacific Path to Market programme presents a structured approach to the market in New Zealand, starting with export capability building workshops in the Pacific Islands followed by an invitation to a select group of companies based on their potential to export.

The selection process is conducted in partnership with the local Economic Development Agency. Last year, PT&I successfully delivered workshop in 10 Pacific Island countries.

The companies on this trade mission will take the next step in the PP2M programme. This Trade Mission will focus on three main areas – (1) Participation at the Pasifika Festival, (2) Gap Analysis Workshop and (3) Business to Business meetings.

The companies range from small established businesses who are exploring opportunities beyond their domestic market for the first time to the well-established experienced exporters.

They contribute to their country’s economic development by creating work and job opportunities.

Amongst the delegation are the Tonga National Youth Congress (TNYC) with around 16 Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) Processing sites in the villages providing much needed work and income for local families.

Fiji’s Bilo Sinai hopes to generate on-the-day sales but are also looking for distributors and ensuring farmers are fairly compensated for their top-grade Kava.

In the Solomon Islands, the Labuhila Coffee Farmers Association has 90 coffee growers who last year secured an export deal with a family owned New Zealand business, IncaFe.

Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands is a well-established coconut oil producing company that enables around 5,000 people throughout the Solomon Islands to earn a living, either through coconuts farming or producing their own coconut oil. Papua New Guinea’s Bilum Export and Promotion Association (BEPA) launched in October 2015 now works with 12 co-operatives and 650 women.

The PT&I Pacific Path to Market programme starts on Friday 24 March with a Maori Powhiri (welcome), briefings and media interviews before the start of the two-day festival.

The program will carry on after Pasifika ends with a one-day export workshop on Monday followed by business to business meetings on Tuesday 28th March.

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