20 March, 2018, 12:00 am
A MOTION by the Opposition to appoint a committee to enquire and make recommendations in relation to the agricultural development and marketing plans and strategies for Fiji was defeated in Parliament last week.
The motion was moved by Opposition MP Viliame Gavoka.
Mr Gavoka claimed the contribution of agriculture to Fiji’s GDP continued to be low.
“We need sustainable developments on our natural resources. We can do it but we need to sit together and we need to have a committee to sit and enquire into why we are failing with our agriculture.”
Mr Gavoka said the 2017 census has stated a huge scale of migration of people from the rural areas to the cities.
“This is telling us something, that people do not find land usage is profitable hence the migration in to the city. It’s a tragedy.”
Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu said the Opposition was strategically paralysed.
Mr Seruiratu said the agriculture GDP contribution was less than 10 per cent, however, he said the contribution of non-sugar agriculture had continued to increase consistently from 2017. “This is the problem and I have talked about this so many times when you are strategically paralysed you lose the art of logical reasoning and that is happening on the other side.
“In 2017, the export values were $130 million, 2008 $140m, 2009 146m, 2010 149m, 2011 178m, 2013 179m, 2014 180m, 2015-2016 198m that tells this honourable house that agriculture is doing well.”
Mr Seruiratu said the cause of rural to urban drift was because of the lack of developments in the rural areas.
Meanwhile, the motion was later defeated.