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State plans non-sugar exports increase

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, March 03, 2018

GOVERNMENT has announced plans to increase non-sugar exports by $100 million and to reduce the import of fruit and vegetables by $80m by 2020.

This was revealed by West principal agricultural officer Ilimeleki Kaiyanuyanu while opening the Exporters Symposium in Nadi yesterday.

He said that since 2006, Government had identified and focused its efforts in addressing Fiji's trade imbalance through numerous reforms and measures and had set targets to increase exports, reduce import bills and reduce trade deficit.

"In 2016, our agriculture trade showed a negative result of $453m, meaning that agricultural import is more than our exports," he said

"The value of our export, which includes both crops and livestock, was $193m in which our export was mainly driven by major fresh and chilled commodities such as taro, ginger, cassava, pawpaw and kava, as well as other value added products such as coconut oil. In that same year (2016), we imported $646m of commodities like rice, potato, dairy, fresh and chilled meat and others — of which most are for our hotel industries."

Mr Kaiyanuyanu added the Government planned to increase non-sugar exports by $100m and the reduction by $80m of fruit and vegetable imports by 2020 was possible.

"Some may say that this is unrealistic, but we believe that everything is possible if we put all our efforts together in finding better ways and solutions to our problems.

"I believe this symposium supports the initiative of providing that platform for dialogue and better understanding of issues relating to agricultural trade, especially our exports, and to find ways to address those trade or market access issues."

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