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Agriculture Marketing Authority Seeks $2.4m

Agriculture Marketing Authority Seeks $2.4m
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama being briefed by Minister for Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu, at the Ministry’s Rice Irrigation Plantation in Koronivia. The plantation is part of the Fijian Government and Chinese Government partnership where $10 million has been provided by the Chinese Government to improve rice yield and quality etc in Fiji. Photo: JONA KONATACI
July 01
09:27 2015

The Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) has requested Government for a $2.4 million grant in order to be able to reach its maximum potential.

This was the plea from the Ministry of Agriculture-run entity yesterday to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as he took a site tour of the AMA premises in Nausori.

Agriculture Marketing Authority executive chairman, Filipe Alifereti, said the grant would make them also compliant to a number of international standards.

Sales and Marketing manager, Alivereti Yaya, said the grant would be also used to getting the required machinery so they are able to produce more at a lesser processing time.

AMA was allocated $1.5 million in the 2015 Budget and up to May, this had been exhausted.

Mr Yaya said the money was used for repairs to the premises in Nausori as well as paying off debt.

AMA made a $1.5 million turnover the past year, Mr Yaya confirmed

He said the revenue was also used to pay debt accumulated through the past management.

But, he said, they don’t have any debt now and are hoping to surpass the turnover figure this year.

 

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama being briefed by Minister for Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu, at the Ministry’s Rice Irrigation Plantation in Koronivia. The plantation is part of the Fijian Government and Chinese Government partnership where $10 million has been provided by the Chinese Government to improve rice yield and quality etc in Fiji. Photo: JONA KONATACI

AMA’s role is to assist rural farmers in the remote rural areas of Fiji to market their produce.

Mr Yaya said these were farmers who don’t have money or facility to transport their produce to the market.

The company buys various varieties of dalo, yams and cassava and exports them – fresh or frozen.

Other products include fish, virgin coconut oil, as well as honey.

All these are also available for sale in the local market where the products are distributed to supermarkets but also available for individuals who want to buy direct from them.

In fact, AMA also does delivery along the Suva-Nausori corridor.

 

Challenges

One of the challenges highlighted by Mr Alifereti was transportation cost and access to the maritime areas.

Currently adding up the freight costs to transport the produce from the remote rural islands makes the product cost quite high.

Mr Yaya said it was important they got access to the remote islands because they aim to reach and assist farmers even in the most remote part and where others do not go to.

 

Exports

Currently, the company exports four to five containers per month inclusive of all products they have.

Each container brings in $25,000 per month and therefore $125,000 per month is earned through the five containers exported.

But the company is targeting to export about eight to 12 containers monthly.

Mr Yaya further confirmed they have just started with fresh dalo export to Melbourne once a week from this week. They are expecting to rake in around $15,000 monthly through this new market.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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