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Ministry preserves seed potatoes

Kalesi Mele
Saturday, October 28, 2017

THE Agriculture Ministry has been able to preserve seed potatoes from one season to the next doing away with the need to purchase planting material from abroad.

Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu said as a result they hoped to increase production.

"I can say specifically one of the major successes that we have made in the initial stages of this research work is that we are now able to preserve planting material to the next," he said.

"Previously for research purposes we were just purchasing planting material from abroad.

"We have been able to plant these materials and we will see an increased quantity of production particularly for potatoes."

The ministry announced it would embark on an import substitution program for potatoes in 2012.

This was in a bid to reduce the country's import bills, which stands at $18 million annually.

Under the scheme the ministry hopes to reduce the import bill by 5 per cent by 2018 and 15 per cent by 2020.

He added despite being able to preserve planting material there was still a lot more work to be done for the program to be completely successful.

"With agriculture you don't expect miracles. There are factors that are beyond our influence and particularly now with the changing dynamics in the environment, particularly climate change.

"We have to be very careful with the steps that we take."

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