MORE investment and emphasis on the agriculture sector and agro production are required for Fiji to have any hope of meeting the targeted 5 per cent growth in the economy over the next few years.
This was the view of academics speaking at the USP's Fiji Economic Update 2012 at the Fiji National University in Nadi last Friday.
The academics highlighted that only marginal economic growth had been achieved despite the government's reforms to stimulate the national economy.
Sandhiya Roy of the University of Fiji said there had to be a concerted effort to retain interest in agriculture and introduce agriculture studies in schools.
"Government needs to retain farmers in farms," she said.
"The previous government resulted in most farmers leaving their farms and coaxing them back is a difficult task.
"Agriculture should be taught at schools — not only in tertiary but in primary and secondary school curriculum. Government also needs to spend more on agriculture because of the sector's potential to create jobs and develop the export economy."
Economist Professor Biman Prasad lauded the government's economic stimulation policies but cautioned against being overly optimistic in projected growth figures.
"The optimism that has been shown by the government about projected growth rate of 2.7 per cent in 2012 is unrealistic," he said.