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Farmers Urged: Deal With Farmers, Markets Link

There is no data on registration of farmers by area, crop/livestock, or any other variable.
08 Mar 2019 19:26
Farmers Urged: Deal With Farmers, Markets Link
Participants at the Organising Farmers Organisations as Entrepreneurs and Partners in Agribusiness workshop at the Southern Cross Hotel.

Fijian farmers need to move away from the philosophy that money pouring in the sector via grants and subsidies will grow agriculture in the long run.

The farmers should rather identify the entire value chain and organise the demand side and let the market signals incentivise new farmers.

This was the challenge made by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment, Mahendra Reddy to participants of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) workshop yesterday.

The workshop themed, “Organis­ing Farmers and Farmers’ Organi­sations as Entrepreneurs and Part­ners in Agribusiness” was held at the Southern Cross Hotel in Suva.

Mr Reddy also raised the issue of some farmers being assisted repeat­edly while others have received no assistance due to an incomplete da­tabase on farmer assistance.

“My challenge to FCLC is to ask yourself, where do you fit in this agenda of nature responsible corpo­rate agriculture?” he said.

“We are not going to waste money in crops which we may not have any comparative advantage, and do not see our farming system conducive to it.

“Ask yourself what you can do to assist us take agriculture forward sharing our vision.

“There is no data on registration of farmers by area, crop/livestock, or any other variable with us.

FCLC chief executive officer Jiu Daunivalu has confirmed they are still looking for funds in order to help launch their database which is already in the planning phase.

Mr Reddy said there was a need to deal with the missing link between farmers and the markets.

“We have to incentivise young farmers to enter the industry and see Agriculture as a business,” Mr Reddy said.

“It is these farmers who will re­spond to market sign and with this workshop, it will provide an oppor­tunity for stakeholders to interact and discuss agricultural issues and challenges.

“We can identify untapped oppor­tunities that we can capitalise on to develop realistic goals and strate­gies to strengthen Fiji’s agriculture sector now, and into the next five years ending 2023.”

Market changes

Mr Reddy reminded the partici­pants as market changes so does consumers taste and preferences.

“We now have the younger genera­tion which I term them as the “Mall” generation implying that increasing number of our population wishes to eat out,” he added.

“Therefore, Agriculture sector cannot be seen as a Primary indus­try and also consider value adding as it plays a critical role.

“We also need to organise and pro­file block markets that we have and take advantage of the gifted “Fiji” brand as it is seen in the world now.”

Feedback: karalaini.tavi@fijisun.com.fj

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