GOVERNMENT is planning to plant one million coconut trees over three years to increase yields in the future and make coconuts a more attractive source of livelihood.
This is in addition to plans to open a new whole-nut processing facility on Taveuni which will be a training centre for farmers where they will learn about its various products and by-products .
While launching the 49th Asia Pacific Community Ministerial meeting at the Novotel Hotel in Nadi yesterday, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said copra production had dropped to half of what it used to be 50 years ago.
He said Fiji produced about 40,000 metric tonnes per annum in 1950 but this had dropped to about 20,000 metric tonnes per annum.
"This decline has been attributed to the increase in low yielding trees, decreasing copra prices, high production and freight costs and the inability to adapt to changes in technology and the global market.
"That is why the Fijian government believes the coconut industry needs to be supported with all the appropriate and modern resources.
"We have purchased machines for this facility through the Coconut Development Program to demonstrate to farmers how, with an up-front investment, can add value to these products."
Commodore Bainimarama said government recognised the need for support from the international community in revitalising the coconut industry.
"We look to our fellow APCC member countries to learn from your experience and benefit from your assistance," he told the overseas delegates.