A partnership to support the start-up and expansion of orchid nursery businesses for women living in Koroipita, a social housing community in Fiji. The partnership creates accessible business opportunities and provides market linkages through logistics and packing services.
Fiji’s economy has been one of the hardest hit globally from the COVID-19 pandemic, placing more pressure on families to find new sources of income. There are limited income generating opportunities for women living in Koroipita, a low-income social housing community on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu. Women have been particularly impacted by the economic downturn in Fiji due to their high representation in the service sector and an increase in care responsibilities. There is unmet demand for orchids in Fiji and the weather in Koroipita is well suited to floriculture.
About the initiative
This BPP partnership will scale up a successful pilot model to incubate nursery businesses and facilitate sales and livelihoods for their women business owners. BPP support will develop 17 new nurseries and upgrade the existing 17 nurseries, and offer more women support to start their own orchid nursery business. The orchid nursery businesses will be sustained through Koroipita businesses offering the Floriculture Support Association and South Sea Orchids consistent year-round supply to meet increasing demand from the domestic market.
The orchid nurseries are an accessible business for women as they are placed just outside the home and are low-input from a labour perspective. Accessible businesses enable women to balance care responsibilities while generating an income, learning new skills, gaining financial literacy, and developing leadership skills. With more families at home during the pandemic, other family members are learning skills in floriculture, as well as sharing their knowledge with those in neighbouring households.
The orchid nurseries are environmentally sustainable. Materials are reused and recycled and caring for the environment is part of the training for new business owners.
Key contributions from partners
Hear from the partners
“I’m excited to see what we can achieve with the support from the Australian Government through the BPP. I just want the women to earn a living and to help us build the floriculture industry in Fiji to supply both our local and regional markets. There’s a big potential to expand both of these markets, but we have to start locally,” Aileen Burness, South Sea Orchids
“Having been responsible for collecting the orchids from Koroipita for several years and delivering them to South Sea Orchids for sale each fortnight, I am excited to have this BPP project from the Australian Government, to help increase the quantity of orchids available to market from the one location where they are available all year round. It is also very satisfying to engage more women in the project and help them prosper,” Verona Lucas, Floriculture Support Association
“We are delighted and honoured to be a part of the BPP initiative in Fiji, and to work with established partners in the floriculture sector in Fiji like South Sea Orchids and Floriculture Support Association. This project will not only contribute to the household income of Koroipita women and their families, but also change harmful gender norms by making women visible and valuing their contribution to their families as well as communities,” Phyllis Danford is with MTCT – Koroipita.
This partnership was selected through the BPP’s 2020 Call for Partnerships to support COVID-19 recovery across the Asia-Pacific.