September 16, 2020
Picture: Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Mr. Ritesh Dass (right) Joes Farm Managing Director Mr. Michael Joe (middle) and Investment Fiji CEO Mr. Craig Strong during the Global Audience Hears Fiji’s Agriculture Investment Opportunities.
Export in 2020 has increased compared to the first quarter of 2019 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, revealed Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ritesh Dass at a webinar session on Tuesday (15.9.20).
“In 2019, $234m in total export value of crop and livestock was recorded where a total of 223 crop, livestock produce and products were exported to 47 countries,” he said.
The webinar session featured the Permanent Secretary, Investment Fiji CEO, Mr. Craig Strong, and Joe’s Farm Managing Director, Mr. Michael Joe.
Mr. Dass explained about the opportunities for investment in Fiji’s agricultural sector to over 300 participants worldwide, and led the discussion on Transforming Agriculture agenda in Fiji.
“In 2020, we have noted a 2 percent growth in value for export, recorded a 14 percent growth in volume of only fresh or chilled export, and documented a 11per cent average growth rate per month in volume of export from January to March,” he said.
In describing a snapshot of Fiji’s agriculture, Mr. Dass revealed over the last seven years from 2013 to 2019, crop and livestock export continued to increase.
“There was a fairly modest growth of 0.1 percent growth in volume of export, 4.7 percent growth in value of export, and 2.2 percent growth in value of only fresh or chilled export.”
He said there is real potential to achieve accelerated growth through strong investment support given Fiji had only utilized 20per cent of arable land for agriculture purposes.
“There is still 80 percent of arable land not utilized so the potential and the possibilities to invest in this sector is endless and you can be rest assured that you will have the Ministry’s full support to assist you in your investment ventures,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said there were opportunities available in government investment programs, farmer to market linkages, organic farming model, agriculture value addition, agro tourism, and climate smart agriculture.
Mr. Dass revealed the potential areas for investment in Fiji’s agriculture sector were in livestock such as sheep, beef, or dairy, and crops such as rice, turmeric, ginger, cassava, taro, fruits, high value vegetables and coconut products.
“The Ministry will provide end-to-end support to any investor to ensure their investment success.”