Livestock farming in Fiji is expected to receive a major boost once new feeding technologies are introduced by the Agriculture Ministry.
The ministry has begun a five-year project of developing different feeding technologies suitable for different types of animals.
The measure is expected to help farmers increase their milk and meat production.
The project's office complex was opened at the Koronivia Research Station yesterday.
State Minister for Agriculture Ratu Josefa Dimuri, who was chief guest at the ceremony, said the project would provide better facilities and modern technologies for research officers engaged in the program.
"I would also urge all of you for concerted efforts so that we can boost our livestock production and reduce the imports which unfortunately seem to increase each year," he said.
"You are all aware that agriculture plays an important role in the economic development of our nation.
"The Agriculture sector contributed an average 15 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product and is also a major source of employment, economic activity, food security and also foreign exchange earnings," he said.
Ratu Joseva said the relatively disease-free status of the livestock sector is a unique opportunity which needs to be protected and preserved.
"The current serious concerns with respect to Avian Influenza clearly illustrate this point," he said.
"It is relevant to note that certain new or emerging animal diseases such as avian flu can affect humans.
"Another consequence of growing livestock populations in the confined areas is the issue of proper disposal of waste," he said.
Ratu Joseva said Fiji now had the Environment Act under which every citizen was duty-bound to keep the environment in a good state for future generations.