THE steadily increasing demand for livestock products has been providing a great opportunity to local producers, says President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
"Referring to the steadily increasing demand for livestock products, this is now providing greater opportunities to producers and in some situations, regional export markets are also developing," he said.
"This is already the case here in Fiji with so many smaller island neighbours relatively close by."
He said Fiji recorded considerable progress in several livestock areas.
"Such as the development of a tropical non-wool breed of sheep which is a very good meat animal and has been acquired by both Samoa and Tonga where it is performing very well.
"On the one hand, our rapidly expanding poultry sector with production at its highest last year — 18,285 tonnes — is a credit to the many players and is already taking advantage of the significant export market."
Ratu Epeli said while the poultry sector had shown significant improvements over the past year, work was still needed in other livestock sectors.
"On the other hand, we need to do more in the dairy sector as our self-sufficiency level is quite low at 47 per cent.
"There is much room for improvement and expansion.
"Markets do exist, which is always a key element in any agri-business undertaking.
"There is still a need for improved information on the sector — on numbers, trends, constraints, research requirements and infrastructural needs."
The President said enhancing the skills set of those working in the industry was also a key area that needed attention.
"Skills also need to be enhanced, not only at the farmer level but also at the professional level."