Coconut Industry Vital For Fiji

The ministry over the years has also provided support through infrastructure development and the provision of technical advisory services to stakeholders
23 Mar 2019 10:33
Coconut Industry Vital For Fiji

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime De­velopment and Waterways and Environment Ma­hendra Reddy has acknowledged the importance of the coconut industry in Fiji.

This was during the National Coconut Day celebrations at the Wairiki grounds, in Taveuni yesterday.

He said through Crop Extension Services and Research Division, the ministry promoted the overall development of coconut as part of a farming system, while focussing on the rehabilitation of existing fields and plantations.

“During this financial year, the Ministry of Agriculture was allocated a budget of $750,000 for the coconut develop­ment programme,” Mr Reddy said.

“This is a budget increase of 103 per cent as compared to the 2014 Budget; when the Fijian Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture allocated $370,000 to the coconut development programme.”

Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture provides sup­port through its research division, with an allocation of $200,000 to the Taveuni Coconut Centre under the 2018/19 Budget.

The ministry, over the years, has also provided support through infrastructure development and the provision of technical advisory services to stakeholders.

“Government through the Ministry of Agriculture will focus on providing aggressive intervention in the coming 10 years,” Mr Reddy said.

Coconut Day celebration focuses on increasing productiv­ity and product diversification from traditional copra pro­duction to whole-nut processing.

The ministry has conducted trainings over the past five years and trained more than 100 participants on whole nut processing.

Additionally, these participants were equipped with Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) producing machines valued at $700,000 (100 sets of equipment at $7000 each) to boost VCO production in their villages and communities.

This year’s theme for Fiji’s Coconut Day Celebration was “Nutrition, Health and Wealth”.

“Literally, apart from generating income and alleviating poverty, coconuts help to sustain household food needs and nutrition security,” Minister Reddy said.

“About 120,000 of our rural population depend on the coconut industry as their main source of food and liveli­hood.”

Edited by Percy Kean


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