AGRICULTURE Ministry permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi has outlined plans by the government to spend about $300,000 for the purchase of potato seedlings next year in a bid to further boost its import substitution program.
He said about $250,000 was used for this year's potato farming program aimed at reducing government spending on potato imports.
Mr Ligairi said the ministry was exploring all avenues to promote potato planting.
"The ministry will continue to research on the best variety that is appropriate for Fiji," he said.
"The research is for a long-term plan, mainly with the aim of reducing potato imports."
Mr Ligairi said one of the obstacles faced was the lack of seedlings.
"We are getting limited seeds which is the main constraint faced as we need to distribute more seeds to the farmers.
"This is one of the reasons we are planning on spending $300,000 on potato farming projects next year.
"We are encouraging farmers to invest in potato farming for food security purposes."
Some areas earmarked for potato farming are Nadarivatu, Ra and Sigatoka. Fiji imports about $17million worth of potatoes annually.