Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy held a bilateral meeting with the Vice Governor of Hunan Province, Sui Zhongcheng on the margins of the recent International Horticulture Exhibition held in Beijing, China.

Minister Reddy acknowledged Hunan Province for its contributions to Fiji’s agricultural development and discussed avenues to deepen friendship and close cooperation with Hunan in agricultural machinery, rice breeding and planting.

Discussions also centered on areas of mutual cooperation and interest to further strengthen partnership on agricultural development such as mechanization of the local agriculture sector, particularly for the revitalization of the rice sector, as Fiji continued to import $40million worth of rice annually for domestic consumption.

With the People’s Republic of China being self-sufficient in rice production, Minister Reddy highlighted that through continued cooperation with Hunan Province in terms of technical expertise, technology and research, this could potentially contribute to improvement in local rice production and cultivation in Fiji.

Vice Governor Sui Zhongcheng acknowledged China and Fiji’s diplomatic ties and long-standing relations and affirmed Hunan’s intention to continuously provide support for an enabling environment for agricultural development cooperation as Hunan Province had implemented South-South agricultural cooperation and national foreign aid projects in Fiji.

A delegation from the Hunan enterprise, Yuan Long Ping High-Tech Agriculture Company Limited, will visit Fiji soon to provide further support to current rice development programmes.