Fiji imports $40m worth of rice annually: Agriculture ministry

Ministry of Agriculture deputy secretary Jone Sovalawa and Li Zhi with the senior agriculture officials and representatives from China after the signing. Picture: SUPPLIED

FIJI imports about $40million worth of rice every year.

This was revealed by Ministry of Agriculture’s deputy secretary Jone Sovalawa during the signing of a new contract between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Yuan Longping High in an effort to strengthen Fiji’s rice industry.

Mr Sovalawa said the Tech Agriculture Company Limited of China would continue with the second phase of the rice project between the two countries.

He said the ministry was ready to work together with the Chinese team to ensure rice production was increased and expanded to potential rice growing areas in Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.

Mr Sovalawa said during phase II of the project, a specialised machinery expert would be part of the team who would look into the issues in regards to machinery repairs and availability of spare parts.

He said it was expected that seed quality system would be established and also provide agro inputs/spare parts and technical services to the Fiji National Rice Breeding Laboratory.

Mr Sovalawa said that two new hybrid rice varieties would also be introduced, which would assist in maximising rice production.