Diversification critical to green growth

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Inia Seruiratu. Picture: PARLIAMENT LIVE

DIVERSIFICATION is a necessity for Fiji’s Agricultural sector given the business approach the government is using in there.

The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services, Inia Seruiratu brought items to parliament today to assist in his explanation of government’s farming development.

“We want to take to treat farming as a business. Therefore diversification is essential, it is a  necessity. Our major objective is to develop a wider range of products to become more successful and to increase the farmers skills,” Mr Seruiratu said.

He was responding to Opposition Member of Parliament Josefa Dulakiverata’s question on agricultural diversity as a key theme of the government has been.

“Can the Minister update the House on the success of such diversification of agricultural produce in Fiji?” MP Dulakivereta said.

Displaying value added coconut, noni and kava products, Mr Seruiratu told the house the government was doing its best to diversify the sector but admitted there was still more to be done and he stressed the need for partnership.

“With wider range of products, it also results in developing more interests and thus the need for more skills and thus it will create more employ benefits as well,” the minister said.

If income is consistent and satisfactory, most farmers will continue to stay in the farm.”

He describe the approach as two pronged, one method being to encourage those with high production yields to diversify with value adding and the other being to encourage those with only produce to branch into livestock farming.

He added private sector investment and participation was critical calling businesses “the engine of growth” and he thanked farmers and stressed the need to continue to encourage and entice them to continue.