Government's Agricultural Policies Beginning to Bear Fruit
(Monday 19th December 2011, No:2263/MOI) AMA FINDS OVERSEAS AND LOCAL MARKET FOR LOCAL PRODUCTS
In the 2012 National Budget, Government allocated the following to address food security and non-reliance on overseas producers :
· Export promotion programme $1m
· Food Security Programme $1m
· Rural and Outer Island Development Programme (ROI) $1.75m
· Cocoa Revitalisation $200,000
· Rice Revitalisation $600,000
· Cottage Industry $100,000
· Livestock Rehabilitation $1.5m
· Dairy Development Programme $2m
Government’s import substitution and export finance facility initiative is “bearing fruit” and allowing local farmers to find a local market for produce that once could only be imported from overseas. Many imported products have seen an increase in fiscal duty either to give local products an edge and allow local producers to develop their businesses.
Through the Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA), local farmers are venturing into other produce (mainly used by hotels and resorts) which is expected to reduce Fiji’s annual import bill.
The authority’s Manager Sales and Marketing, Alivereti Yaya said two farmers from Gau Island this month produced over 52 kilograms of capsicum (a product of the Rural and Outer Island Assistance Program) was sold to a local supermarket.
“The AMA helped the Department of Agriculture’s Eastern Division Office in Koronivia on the marketing of capsicum which was brought to Viti Levu without any markets arranged,” Mr Yaya said.
“The capsicum, which was brought in from Qarani village, was of high quality grade and AMA managed to convince New World Supermarket to buy it at $5.00 per kilogram.”
In the same instance, the Government entity tasked with promoting and marketing Fijian produce has found market for yellow cassava and dalonitana (purple colour) in Australia and is asking farmers who produce these two types of root crops to get in touch with them at their Nausori office.
“The Agricultural Marketing Authority have found a market that demands for yellow Cassava and Dalo-ni-tana (purple coloured taro) in Australia and is currently looking for supplies from local farmers,” he said.
Mr Yaya said the first consignment to Australia would be in January and the crops will need to be peeled and frozen before it is packed in one-kilogram bags.
“The first order is expected in January and the AMA is currently working on the packaging of the product which should be ready before the end of December 2011,” he said.
“The AMA is trying to work with the Department of Agriculture to ensure that market assistance is provided to all its projects assisted farmers so that farmers do get better returns for their labour.”