Sheep Farming in Fiji–a Reader’s Comment

Fiji’s announcement that it may start large-scale sheep farming drew a doubtful comment from me. I said sheep farming in the Tropics was difficult and efforts in Niue had failed.   To which a reader responded:
 
“A friend of mine has a company that farms 'Fiji Fantastic' breed of sheep. He used to run them under another friend's young teak trees (plantation) but now the trees have grown so tall that they crowd out the sunlight which means there was  less grass for sheep.  So my sheep farming  friend has branched out and is trying contract farming. At the  end of last year he contracted four farmers in Ra Province to mind (grow-out) his sheep, whence he'll buy them back and split the profits on a certain ratio. His ewes (more than 200) are pregnant and  may have lambed by now.  He's looking for more grazing land and good farmers.
The main problems in Fiji w.r.t. sheep farming  (apart from suitable grazing land) are poaching, dog attacks, and farmers selling off their young sheep way before they can breed. Short-term profits. The 'Fiji Fantastic' breed apparently does well in the tropics . A couple of years ago, Samoa purchased some breeding stock from Fiji but now export sales of live sheep has stopped until we can build up the flocks. An injection of new blood (e.g. Dorper breed) is not discouraged, however.”

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