A TOTAL of $241.2million worth of goods were imported for January, about 40 per cent more than the previous month, figures from the Government Statistician reveal.
Exports for January were recorded at $67.4million.
"Compared to the previous corresponding month, imports increased by $66.8million(39.8 per cent), domestic exports increased by $12.8million (36.9 per cent) and re-exports increased by $5.6million (38.7 per cent)," said a Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics statement.
Fiji Chamber of Commerce acting president Swani Maharaj said the increase in imports signified the high demand for imported foods. He said Fiji needed to look at how to improve the quality of locally-produced food to ensure that import numbers decreased.
Mr Maharaj said Fiji needed to standardise its products and that the country could not afford to keep importing goods.
Fiji's major sources of imports are from countries like Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, France and Japan. Fiji import items such as light oils, aviation turbine fuels, industrial diesel oils and ammonium sulphate, wheat and brown rice, crude oil and liquefied butanes from these countries.
The country exports garments, gold, woodchips, dalo, yaqona, biscuits, flour and long finned tuna to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, United States of America and Western Samoa.
The statistics also reveal that the total domestic exports were $47.3million for the month of January.
For the whole of last year, Fiji imported $3119.9 million in goods and total exports were $1175.2million.