Women Drive Safer Food and Stronger Communities

September 6, 2023
Market vendors at the Suva market promote and practice food safety in their business.

Market vendors at the Suva market promote and practice food safety in their business.

Photo: UNDP

Suva, Fiji - The vital link between food safety, food security, and the incredible role of women and their contribution to economic development was unlocked by women market vendors through the training on food safety. The training, the first-of-its-kind for this initiative in Fiji, was successfully rolled out recently by the Markets for Change Project in collaboration with the Suva City Council and 20 women market vendors at the Suva Municipal Market.

As most Suva Market vendors are women, the new training marked a significant milestone emphasizing the important role that women market vendors play for their communities and people living and working in the capital city, especially in selling delicious, cooked food and fresh seafood at Suva Municipal Market.

During the two-day informative training, inspiring vendors gained crucial insights into food safety, hygiene practices, and hands-on skills for handling, storing, and selling food securely at Suva Municipal Market.

Training participants also gained new knowledge on the Food Safety Act 2003 and Food Safety Regulations 2009, ensuring they're well-versed in the requirements.

Attentively engaging in the learning sessions, Ms. Imeri Marama who sells cooked food at the Suva Market realized the important role she and her fellow market vendors play in ensuring food safety for customers.  

“The training has taught me not only the importance of making money through business, but also in how I prepare it in my kitchen at home, handle and transport it to the market, and properly store the cooked food before it is sold to the customers.

“Good hygiene practice following the food safety rules is important as well as doing good in my business at the market,” said Ms. Marama.

The training also provided an opportunity to vendors to reflect and share best practices on food safety and seek advice from the Health Department of the Suva City Council.


Ms. Sofi Talei, among other participants at the Suva Market was appreciative of the advice she received from the training, “This training is very timely as I managed to learn the importance of good hygiene practices especially in the preparation, handling and storage of food from the kitchen to the market for customers consumption. The training also made me realize that the welfare of the customers is dependent on me especially in how I prepare, cook, handle and store food before selling.”

Beyond technical knowledge and skills on hygiene, this training highlighted how safer food practices can boost good health of Fijian people and economic development of the country which directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. By enhancing health and creating better economic opportunities for the communities, women market vendors are taking big steps towards a prosperous future for the people of Fiji.

The Markets for Change (M4C) project promotes gender equality through the economic empowerment of women market vendors in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It brings together governments, market vendors and market vendor associations, civil society organizations and UN agencies. M4C is implemented by UN Women in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by the Governments of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

For more information, please contact:
Vilisi Veibataki, Markets for Change Project Manager, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji | vilisi.veibataki@undp.org | +679 322 7701.