FIJI NEWS

Diversify cash crops: Economist

Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. Sugarcane farmers should diversify their production to cash crops, legumes and short term livestock production to avoid economic strain, an economist said yesterday. Dr
02 Jan 2009 12:00

Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. Sugarcane farmers should diversify their production to cash crops, legumes and short term livestock production to avoid economic strain, an economist said yesterday.
Dr Mahendra Reddy, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism Studies at the Fiji Institute of Technology made the comment in light of the global financial crisis.
According to the Reserve Bank of Fiji, the country’s economic situation is going from bad to worse.
The warning came this week as the International Monetary Fund revises the world growth rate down to 3.7 per cent where Fiji is forecasted to have a slowdown in growth this year.
The most notable decline was the sugar industry which is the country’s economic backbone.
“The sugar industry has a defined life length. There is no room for three mills to operate in the Western division.
“We should cease operation of one of the three mills. Encourage farmers to diversify their production including cash crop, legumes and short term livestock production,” Dr Reddy said.
He said the market for these was there and prices and returns were also good.
“Livestock production at the moment is low because of thefts in the rural areas. The police will have to increase their presence and effectiveness in the rural areas in order to encourage people to get into livestock farming,” the economist said.




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