IN a bid to revitalise the rice industry, the Agriculture Department recently purchased four new rice harvesting machines from Asia.
Principal agricultural officer North John Cox said they conducted a familiarisation exercise with their personnel last week on the operations of the new machines.
"The purchase of the machines is in line with government's intention of revitalising the rice industry," he said.
"Government has a plan of making Fiji an agricultural self-sufficient country to enable it to reduce expenditure on the purchase of products such as rice that could be grown locally.
"Currently Fiji imports about $20million worth of rice from Asian countries and this huge amount of money could be saved if the country grows its very own."
Mr Cox said the Agriculture Department was looking at addressing local markets before venturing overseas.
"Most Asian countries like China are rich and economically stable because they are self-sufficient.
"This means they do not have to import most things as they are produced locally."