HAVING a meat-dominated meal on the menu among locals has subsequently led to an increase in imported products.
And these products are costing the Fijian government an annual bill of about $105 million.
Director Animal Health and Production Tomasi Tunabuna said the high bill followed an increase in demand from consumers.
He contributed the high import bill on dairy, sheep and beef products to the change of eating habits of people.
Mr Tunabuna said government had drawn up plans aimed at increasing sheep farming as local supply could not cater for local demand.
Last year, government spent about $20 million on sheep products only and the situation has led them to focus on increasing local production.
"About 90 per cent of people buy imported mutton and this is a really high number as people opt for such food products," Mr Tunabuna said.
"In trying to meet local demand, we are encouraging farmers to be involved more in sheep farming so the income is circulated within the country instead of it being spent on import bill," he said.
He added the change in eating habits of most people had been cited as one of the major causes of the high demand of sheep products.
"When the prices of sheep products are low, there will definitely be a shortage in supply and that's why we import," Mr Tunabuna said.
He said they aimed to reduce the import bill with the hope of emphasising farmers to engage in sheep farming.
"The government is trying its best to reduce the import bill for dairy, sheep and beef from $105 million by the end of this year and this can only be achieved if we work together," he said.