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Trade imbalance

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, March 05, 2018

THE trade imbalance in the export and import of crop and livestock commodities continues to be an issue for the country.

During a presentation at the Exporters Symposium in Nadi last week, Agriculture Ministry senior economist Sainiana Kiritiana said export of crop and livestock commodities to Australia and New Zealand had declined.

Also on the downward slide is the number of countries that Fiji exports crop and livestock products to.

Citing data from the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, she said taro exports to New Zealand in 2016 were down by 48 per cent, pumpkins/squash and gourd by 30 per cent, ginger by 31 per cent and other vegetables by 19 per cent.

For Australia, ginger exports from Fiji went down by 79 per cent, cassava by 60 per cent and taro by 10 per cent.

In total, taro exports had decreased by 419 tonnes, cassava by 923 tonnes, papaya by 277 tonnes and eggplant by 166 tonnes in 2016.

"In 2016, Fiji earned about $195million from the export of both fresh and chilled and value-added and this is 17.4 per cent of domestic export," she said.

"In 2014, we exported to 50 countries, in 2015 - 46 countries and 2016 - Fiji exported 287 commodities to 43 countries.

"This included crop and livestock and both fresh and chilled and value-added.

"In terms of imports, we imported $646million of crop and livestock commodities from 76 countries - which is 13 per cent of the national import bill."

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