SUNBIZ

Stats Show Livestock Demand More Than Supply

Current statistics show that livestock supply is lower than total demand estimated at 10 to 20 per cent, says Permanent Secretary for Finance Filimone Waqabaca. He said the figures meant
14 May 2015 09:10
Stats Show Livestock Demand More Than Supply
Participants at the 2015 Fiji Livestock Sector Forum. Photo: DEPTFO NEWS

Current statistics show that livestock supply is lower than total demand estimated at 10 to 20 per cent, says Permanent Secretary for Finance Filimone Waqabaca.

He said the figures meant good news for the stakeholders as there was room for growth and investment.

“This is not gloom but good news for all players in this industry that there is room to continue to grow this very important sector to meet the demand,” he said.

Mr Waqabaca made these comments yesterday in Nadi as he opened the Livestock Sector Forum at the Tanoa International Hotel.

Highlighting the importance of the sector, Mr Waqabaca said over 60 per cent of the rural population participates in livestock-related activities.

“Livestock is of economic importance, contributing, on average nine per cent of the total agricultural GDP of 12 per cent,” he said.

“Livestock contribute to nutritional security through the provision of meat, milk and eggs and provide important farm inputs such as draught power and manure to sustain crop production for food and feed.

“Animals also serve as investment sinks and sources of cash income in times of need, as providers of transport for goods and services and are central to many socio-cultural events and ceremonies.”

Mr Waqabaca said there were ongoing programmes/policies which have been designed to target efficiency in the livestock sector thus increase agricultural productivity and farmers’ incomes.

Challenges and successes

Mr Waqabaca said livestock production and productivity in Fiji has faced a lot of challenges over the years, with its share of successes.

The level of imports of animal and animal products into Fiji has been high due to the shortfalls of livestock production,” he said.

“This has resulted in the draining of foreign reserves to meet the protein nutrient requirements of the population from sources abroad.

“The Government intends to maximise the opportunities that are available locally and support programmes and activities that will strengthen local initiatives and reduce dependency on imports.”

Government assistance

The Ministry of Agriculture has also been involved in the national consultation with stakeholders on the Draft Feed Bill and will be amended if appropriate before it is legislated.

Mr Waqabaca said Government also aims to regularise the supply of quality feed which will impact the livestock industry and assist those farmers who rely on livestock farming as a source of livelihood.

The Government is giving strong emphasis on the development of agriculture, including the livestock sector, to increase food production and improve livelihoods.

Development policies and planning of the agriculture sector are guided by the 2020 Agriculture Policy.

It aims at ‘a market-led, commercialised, efficient, competitive and dynamic agricultural sector within the context of sustainable development’.

There is a focus on six main commodities namely milk, beef, mutton, pork, poultry meat and poultry eggs.  For each of these commodities, there are specific targets for production and each has a plan of action.

Feedback:  saloteq@fijisun.com.fj

 




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