Three new commodity associations join FCLC

FCLC CEO Jiu Daunivalu highlights a point at the 'Optimizing Performance of Producers Organisations' (OPPO) Workshop. Picture: SUPPLIED

Three new commodity associations namely Spice, Mushroom, and Tavioka have joined the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC).

According to FCLC this is an affirmation of the importance of the Council in the commercial development of the non-sugar sector of the agriculture industry.

The three new associations join the other associations that comprise the Council, namely: Pigs, Beekeeping, Dalo, Yaqona, Grazing Livestock (includes Dairy, Beef, Goats, Sheep), Ginger, Cocoa, Agri-Exporters, Organics, Fruits and Vegetables, Rice and Coconut Producers/Millers.

FCLC CEO Jiu Daunivalu said since its inception in 2010 by Government, FCLC has been working behind the scenes to improve the business of agriculture, from import duty reductions to increased availability of seed varieties, but especially in its role as advocate for our 32,000 member farmers into Government.

“We continue to register farmers and update the Fiji Farmers Database. ‘Know your Farmers’ (KYF) is the slogan used by FCLC in driving registration and profiling farmers, for information, monitoring, evaluation, assessment and learning purposes,” Mrs Daunivalu said.

Mrs Daunivalu said FCLC’s role is especially important now in confronting the damage being caused by COVID-19, and in helping to strengthen food security through its efforts. This has involved raising awareness on potentials of farming, and encouraging farmers, including women and youths, and those who are unemployed due to the impact of COVID-19 to take up farming as a career.

FCLC has initiated a number of programmes, specifically designed to address the needs of agriculture, as the Council works with Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, to drive growth in the industry towards poverty alleviation, food security and exports.

“Much work has been done over the past six years towards this end. With the cash infusion by Government of $200,000 for the financial year 2019-2020, and continued support in the next financial year 2020-2021, we have in place financial support to expand our programmes, strengthen the 15 Farmers’ Organisations already established and, working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and key stakeholders, to benefit our farmers.”

The continued restructure of our agriculture sector is critical, requiring the formation of new farmers’organisations as and when the need arises, with proper governance and management, and clear demarcation of commercial from social obligations in farming, to be able to set realistic vision and goals at individual and organisational levels.

She said that this is part of professionalising and commercialising the non-sugar sector.

Mrs Daunivalu said that it is of major importance to help commercial farmers to better understand that farming is a business, and FCLC’s efforts are to provide a window on how business and farming must work together.

“Our focus is on improving farmers’ incomes, improve their livelihood, and helping to ensure that their business is profitable.”

She said that while food security and improving livelihood is of great importance, the continued health of all of us is the number one priority.

“So please practice physical distancing, wash your hands regularly, keep your home and workplace clean, and stay safe.”

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