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Council Grows from Strength to Strength

Council Grows from Strength to Strength
Fiji Crop and Livestock chairman Simon Cole (left), and ginger farmers and stakeholders, who attended the Ginger Value Chain Workshop that was held in Deuba. Photo: Fiji Crop and Livestock Council
September 05
11:00 2017

The Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) chairman, Simon Cole, has welcomed the recent endorsement by Government for the Council’s role in helping to organise and develop the 30,000 farmers it has registered into its 12 commodity associations.

The assistant Minister for Agriculture, Viam Pillay said in his opening remarks at a two-day PIFON-FCLC Fiji Farmers Forum at Pacific Harbour that “the Ministry was very proud of how far FCLC had come from its humble beginnings in 2010” to its lead role as the umbrella body for farmers in Fiji, today.

FCLC was mandated by Government in 2010 to promote agriculture commercially.

This relationship has been reinforced over the years by two subsequent MOUs between Government and the Council as well as the support of Fiji’s Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, when he opened the FCLC office in Lautoka in 2014.

Apart from its work in registering farmers into commodities all over Fiji, it has also addressed a number of issues that affect agriculture like bio-security, seed importation, the achievement of a duty reduction on many imported agricultural inputs and equipment, progress on a milk purchase agreement (NZ funded), fertiliser subsidies as well as organising a number of workshops on farmer issues.

Importantly, the FCLC is now part of a regional grouping of similar associations. As a result, it has received funding from the “Chambre Agricole” in New Caledonia for Cyclone Winston relief that the Council has distributed to members.

“One point I believe must be made clear, FCLC does not represent the farmers. FCLC is the farmers. Our role of facilitating and improving farming efforts has now become a part of the whole agricultural fabric,” said Mr Cole.

Council associations that comprise FCLC are pigs, yaqona, grazing livestock, dalo, cocoa, ginger, rice, beekeepers, fruit and vegetable, organics, copra, and Fiji Food Exporter Association.

“We continue to work with our commodity associations through Fiji-wide meetings.

“We believe that is essential that we keep clear lines of communications with Government to ensure farmer concerns are well represented in the Ministry and we continue to have success towards this end,” said Mr Cole.

“With limited finances, FCLC opened the secretariat office in Lautoka to run the affairs of the Council. It stays in contact with its members through a newsletter and a communication programme targeting SMS.

“The Council continues to work on a farmers’ insurance programme, the introduction of contracts between farmers and processors, and to represent farmer issues at the highest level in Government through the facilitation committee for agriculture, another council initiative”

Mr Cole said, “We, in FCLC, are proud of the work the farmers have accomplished and are grateful to the Fijian Government for recognising these efforts.”

Source: Fiji Crop and Livestock Council

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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