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Fiji cannery partner expands tuna loin contract to Samoa

Fiji’s Pacific Fishing Company – operator of the country’s main tuna cannery – believes it won’t be affected by Bumble Bee’s interest in expanding its tuna loin business to Samoa. Former chairman of PAFCO Iqbal Janiff told Islands Business magazine that the Fiji cannery deals with cooked tuna loins for exports to Bumble Bee in the United States. Its interest in Samoa however is to do with fresh, frozen loins. “There are two types of tuna loins,” said Janiff. “There’s the fresh frozen loins, which are fish that have been gutted and skinned.

Then there’s the cooked loins, they need to be cooked first before they are gutted. PAFCO does this second type of loining while Bumble Bee is looking at getting Samoa to do fresh frozen loins.”

The US company’s foray into Samoa therefore won’t affect its partnership with PAFCO, Janiff said. He said his term as PAFCO chairman ended last May, but he is aware of plans to increase the capacity of PAFCO’s cooked loin plant. CEO of PAFCO Ban Singh has declined to talk about the latest Bumble Bee investment. When the Levuka-based cannery, owned by the Fijian Government celebrated its 50th year of operations in 2013, it had 882 people on its pay roll, of whom 70 per cent were women. Most of these come from villages near and around Levuka Town, on Ovalau Island, off Suva’s northeast coast. Levuka was the country’s first capital. Through its partnership with Bumble Bee in San Diego, PAFCO processes tuna loins for exports to the US. This foreign contract makes up 95 per cent of its business.

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