Development partners crucial to agro sector

FIJI has huge potential in its agriculture sector in relation to agro-processing, but requires the assistance of development partners for these to materialise.

This remark was made by Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu as he sought assistance from his Japanese counterpart, Hiroshi Moriyama, when they met in Tokyo last week.

Mr Seruiratu’s visit to Japan is a follow-up on the issues discussed between the two leaders of Japan and Fiji during the PALM 7 Summit held in May last year where leaders confirmed their commitment to promoting trade and investment between Japan and Pacific Island countries.

As they discussed trade and investment opportunities between the two countries, Mr Seruiratu said agriculture was a focal area that Government believed could improve the welfare of the Fijian people and contribute to the country’s socioeconomic development.

“Fiji has huge potential in its agriculture sector in view of agro-processing and for these to materialise we will require the assistance of development partners and Japan is a partner that Fiji looks to for relevant support in this regard,” he said in a statement.

“In particular, Fiji needs an agro-processing laboratory, food technologists and value-adding technology, know-how to strengthen its value-adding capacity to realise the full potential of its abundant tropical fruits and vegetables in terms of exports.

“Experts are also required to undertake detail study to help identify and strategise agro-produce for value-adding to export.”

According to the statement, Mr Seruiratu also spoke on the possibility of acquiring such assistance under the South-South Trilateral Cooperation that in this scenario, would be Japan and Fiji with the Government of Philippines.

“Given that Fiji is vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change which impacts its food security and medium to long-term survival; it looks to Japan for relevant support in terms of climate smart practices to produce climate resilient crops,” he said.

Source: Fiji Times Online. Date: February 01, 2016