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Policy to reduce imports

Shalveen Chand
Monday, August 04, 2014

IT is a long-term plan to ensure that Fijians have enough crops and livestock to feed the population without relying on imports.

While launching the Agricultural Policy on Friday night, Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said it was one of the biggest challenges that any country would face in the 21st century and Fiji was no exception.

"In a country blessed with so much fertile land, there's no reason why we can't produce the food we need as a country here at home.

"And there's no reason that on top of that we can't grow food for our tourism industry and food for export as well," said Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama.

"With imported food we are subject to price fluctuations in the international market.

"If the price of wheat goes up in Australia, we can only control it after it comes to Fiji.

"If the price of milk goes up in New Zealand, we can only control it after it comes to Fiji.

"If the international price for rice goes up, we can only control it after it comes to Fiji.

"So whilst we have very effective price control mechanisms to ensure that ordinary Fijians don't pay more than they have to, we still need to produce more food and milk in Fiji."

The agricultural policy was developed with substantial input from farmers, exporters, regulators, government officials and policy experts, including a team from the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations.

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