SUNBIZ

Minister Reddy Meets With Agricultural Exporters

"This was the message by the Min­ister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy during a meeting with exporters at the Nacocolevu Research Station in Sigatoka on Monday."
21 Mar 2019 14:05
Minister Reddy Meets With Agricultural Exporters
Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy (sitting, centre) with Agro-exporters at the Nacocolevu Research Station in Sigatoka on Monday on March 18,

Agro-exporters have been urged to effectively contrib­ute towards the develop­ment of the agriculture sector in order to leverage and ensure the growth of agricultural exports.

This was the message by the Min­ister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy during a meeting with exporters at the Nacocolevu Research Station in Sigatoka on Monday.

Agro-exporters were also remind­ed to practice good ethical stand­ards when dealing with farmers while buying their produce for the export market.

We don’t want ex­porters to buy seed material from farmers so that they don’t have any planting material left to produce for the next planting season.

“This will also allow exporters to have a consistent supply of pro­duce for the export market.

“Cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture, and consider shifting towards incentivising and getting farmers to respond to the demand for production and supply,” he said.

Minister Reddy also highlighted Government’s intent for exporters to be allocated specific areas to ser­vice while directly linking them to farmers, in order to establish con­tracts between the two parties.

“We want exporters to facilitate the establishment of farmer trust accounts to assist in the farmer’s growth and development from those proceeds,” said Mr Reddy.

In responding to issues raised by exporters, Minister Reddy high­lighted the Ministry’s objective to set mutually agreed prices to address price cutting in source markets, which would ultimately inspire exporters to generate maxi­mum foreign agricultural returns to Fiji.

“Currently, Fiji’s export earn­ings from agricultural products, minus sugar and fisheries, is just over $200m. We can easily double this figure in four years with some fundamental changes with co-op­eration from exporters and other stakeholders such as Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.

Fiji Agro Exporters Association

During the meeting, exporters also formed an interim association called “Fiji Agro Exporters Associ­ation” which will address the needs of all exporters in Fiji.

Meanwhile, the founder and managing director of Cacao Fiji Arif Khan was impressed with the Ministry’s initiative on calling all exporters together to discuss the needs and issues in the export business as it was the first time for a meeting to be held between the Ministry of Agriculture and ex­porters.

Mr Khan also welcomed the for­mation of the interim Fiji Agro Exporters Association and looks forward to working with other ex­porters in promoting Fiji’s agri­cultural exports.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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