The strategic advantages within Fiji’s agriculture sector need to be taken advantage of to ensure continued growth.
This was highlighted by Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy while launching the Cambridge Farm commercial agriculture venture in Barara Flats, Sabeto yesterday.
Hon. Reddy said due to the migration in the international markets, whereby land is being earmarked for development in non-agriculture sectors, and the opportunities available here in Fiji for major agricultural development, it was important to leverage these opportunities for positive growth.
“People are moving out, the young generation is moving out of agriculture and that provides an opportunity for Fiji to take advantage of that particular lacuna in the international agriculture market by producing agriculture commodities and or processing and value-adding these commodities into products and sending it to these countries and thus boosting our reserves position.”
“Fiji has a huge potential to take advantage of the declining primary production in some of our main partner countries by raising our production, value-adding, quality controlling and exporting,” he said.
Minister Reddy, in highlighting the strategic advantages such as being able to grow crops on a year-round basis due to our climatic conditions, the copious amounts of available water for agricultural production, which unlike in certain overseas countries was given on a quota basis for agricultural ventures, and our pristine environmental conditions reiterated that commercial agriculture was the way forward for the sector.
“We need to focus on commercial agriculture, in that commercial agriculture paradigm, we have been commissioning and launching and incentivizing investors to come in and take advantage of the strategic positions that we have in Fiji and make critical investments so that we can grow agriculture and treat it as a commercial venture.
Hon. Reddy also added that the key priority areas in the Ministry of Agriculture’s 5 Year Strategic Development Plan are to mechanize, modernize and commercialize Fiji’s agriculture sector as we leverage the sector to become Fiji’s main economic sector.
Cambridge Farms is a commercial agriculture venture which will focus on large scale rice production, with plans to venture onto other commodities and products.