NATION

Consultation On Crops Sector Strategy

Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Jitendra Singh yesterday opened the Fiji Crops Sector Strategy workshop The Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and
25 Mar 2017 10:00
Consultation On Crops Sector Strategy
Stakeholders during Crop Consultation Workshop. Photo: DEPTFO News

Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Jitendra Singh yesterday opened the Fiji Crops Sector Strategy workshop

The Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Pacific Community (SPC) developed the Fiji Crops Sector Strategy to promote a coherent plan for the crop sector over the next five years.

This follows the development of the Livestock Strategy, which has been finalised.

Mr Singh said these documents would guide the ministry in developing the Fiji crop and livestock sectors on the road to modernisation over the next five years.

“It will also assist the Ministry in bringing about a more focused approach to developing the overall agriculture sector in terms of concentration of major efforts on critical areas identified in the two strategies for greater growth,” Mr Singh said.

“The agriculture sector in Fiji is faced with many challenges like climate change which has far reaching negative effects on crop and livestock production in the event of any natural disasters.”

Mr Singh said there was food and nutrition insecurity caused by over dependence on imported processed foods as compared to locally grown fresh foods.

“The overall age of farmers is increasing as farmers’ children become educated and secure jobs in non-agricultural sectors.

“The high cost of labour is another challenge that has led to shortage of manpower in most of our production areas,” Mr Singh said.

He said overall the high cost of production per unit area was a disincentive to farmers in Fiji and these challenges coupled with the high incidence of theft in most farming areas are some of the realities that we have to grapple with in the development of the sector.

“Low productivity and over reliance on external support could undermine the intrinsic strength of various sectors and this is neither sustainable nor supportive of strengthening the core of the agriculture sector,” Mr Singh said.

He said overcoming these challenges requires all stakeholders in the sector to take a tactical approach towards these and other pertinent issues.

Mr Singh acknowledged the FAO for their assistance through the FIRST project in putting together the draft crop strategy and also organising the consultation with the objective of adding final touches to the document.

Source: DEPTFO News

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