THE Government is committed to ensuring a stable investment environment in the agriculture sector, says Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Colonel Mason Smith.
He said the focus right now was on increasing exports, reducing imports, addressing poverty alleviation and dealing with food and income security.
Col Smith said Fiji's population stood at 837,271 in 2007 and with the annual growth rate of 1.41 per cent, Fiji's young population would surpass one million by 2014.
He also reported that approximately 31 per cent of Fiji's population was said to be living in poverty.
Speaking to delegates attending the third China Pacific Island Countries Forum on Agriculture Cooperation, Col Smith revealed that in 2009 Fiji's total agriculture food import bill stood at about $580m
He said 24 per cent of Fiji's meat and dairy products were from New Zealand while Australia remained the main market for wheat imports. Fiji imports rice mainly from Thailand.
Fiji continues to import the following commodities annually ù $40m worth of rice; $19m worth of potatoes; $20m worth of sheep and lamb products; $19m in dairy products and $7m worth of beef products.