Ex­treme weather and COVID-19 im­pact­ing Pa­cific Is­land ex­porters, new sur­vey con

Fiji Sun - - BUSINESS -

Sixty-five per cent of Pa­cific Is­land ex­porters in a new sur­vey re­ported that ex­treme weather has neg­a­tively im­pacted their busi­ness over the past year.

Bi­en­nial sur­vey

Among those af­fected, 41 per cent said ex­treme weather con­di­tions have had a ma­jor im­pact on their busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to Pa­cific Trade In­vest (PTI) Aus­tralia’s ‘2020 Pa­cific Is­lands Ex­port Sur­vey’ re­leased yes­ter­day.

Now in its eighth year, the bi­en­nial sur­vey pro­vides in­sights into trends, changes and busi­ness sen­ti­ment across 16 coun­tries in the Pa­cific Is­lands.

For the first time, the sur­vey of 226 ex­port busi­nesses was ex­panded to ex­plore the im­pacts of weather pat­terns.

In­creased fre­quency of storms (38 per cent), ex­treme rain­fall (26 per cent), ris­ing air tem­per­a­ture over land (19 per cent), de­creased rain­fall (17 per cent), in­creased flood­ing (16 per cent), pro­longed drought (14 per cent) and ris­ing sea lev­els (12 per cent) are some of the weather pat­terns re­spon­dents said have af­fected their busi­nesses.

Agri­cul­ture hard hit

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, agri­cul­ture was the in­dus­try hard­est hit by ex­treme weather.

Of all ex­port busi­nesses af­fected by ex­treme weather, de­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity (56 per cent), dam­age to crops or prod­ucts (50 per cent) and an in­creased cost of sup­plies (32 per cent) were re­ported as some of the main im­pacts.

“While nearly half of all busi­nesses ex­pe­ri­enced an in­crease in ex­port or­ders over the past 12 months, the sur­vey found a quar­ter of ex­porters are now re­port­ing a de­cline in rev­enue as ex­treme weather and COVID-19 af­fect pro­duc­tiv­ity and dis­rupt op­er­a­tions,” said Caleb Jarvis, PTI Aus­tralia’s Trade and In­vest­ment Com­mis­sioner. “As busi­nesses nav­i­gate eco­nomic un­cer­tainty, they are feel­ing less con­fi­dent about the com­ing year. “Twenty-seven per cent ex­pect a de­cline in rev­enue and there has been a sig­nif­i­cant de­cline in ex­porters look­ing to hire new em­ploy­ees over the next 12 months. How­ever, de­spite the cri­sis, man­u­fac­tur­ing and agri­cul­ture re­main con­fi­dent, in­di­cat­ing a strong on­go­ing de­mand for their prod­ucts.” The Lowy In­sti­tute’s Pa­cific Is­lands Pro­gram Di­rec­tor, Jonathan Pryke, said that while many Pa­cific Is­land ex­porters were do­ing it tough, there was good cause for op­ti­mism.

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