‘Need to diversify agriculture’

THERE is a need to diversify Fiji’s agricultural sector in order to ensure food security for all, says Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association board member Craig Powell.

Mr Powell was speaking at the National Forest Fire Management workshop facilitated by the Pacific Community (SPC) and funded by the European Union at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa on Thursday.

He said the local agriculture sector was not evolving and more farmers needed to invest in the farming of fruits and vegetables to supply to the tourism markets.

“We need to evolve and only change can cause change,” he said.

“The Fiji sugar industry has faced a lot of challenges in recent times.

“They have lost the European Union subsidy and have to contend with old sugar mills and perhaps it is time to diversify our agriculture sector.

“A large per cent of the land in Fiji is owned by landowners.

“If we can provide them with attractive leases and support them with proper irrigation systems to farm fruits and vegetables. Tourism establishments are actually screaming out for a consistent supply of quality fruits and vegetables and that is why we have to import on a regular basis. And the costs fall again on the tourists,” said Mr Powell.

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