Agriculture Minister Commends Sector's Growth Rate, Calls For More Impetus

September 23, 2022

The increasing growth rate of the agriculture sector in Fiji is making headway for more opportunities amidst these unprecedented times, with calls being made to leverage this opportunity to ensure it continues.

This was stressed by the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy, while addressing farmers and stakeholders during the Mini-Agriculture Show and Agriculture Farm Machineries Exhibition held yesterday at the Nacocolevu Research Station in Sigatoka yesterday.

"Fiji’s agriculture sector Gross Domestic Product increased at an average growth rate of 7.9% per annum for the past 10 years (2010–2019) and the non-sugar agricultural GDP increased by 83.4%. In 2020, total non-sugarcane contribution towards GDP increased further to FJ $664.8 million.

"In 2021, the value of fresh and chilled crop and livestock exports experienced a growth rate of 13.7 per cent and was valued at $121 million," he said.

Minister Reddy also acknowledged that these results were the result of the dedication by farmers, producers, exporters, vendors, and everyone in the value-chain, thanking them for their contribution to this achievement.

Hon. Reddy highlighted that the current achievement and pathway forward for the sector would require putting in place good agricultural practices to increase farming efficiency and productivity. 

“There are number of binding constraints in agriculture, there are a number of critical factors that contribute to agriculture growth and development and one of those factors that we are emphasizing in the Ministry is that we need to improve the rate of mechanization.

“Agricultural growth cannot take place at the pace at which we want without introducing mechanization, the current era’s agricultural revolution requires mechanization. Mechanization contributes to improved or increased productivity, enhancing efficiency, reduction of costs, and it also improves in post-harvest processes,” said Hon. Reddy.

“So we are now at a juncture in agriculture growth and development in Fiji where we need to introduce mechanization in different ways, phases and stages of production. 

Additionally, he added that it was important to identify more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives to maintain food production in the country because inorganic fertilizers had negative impacts on our resources.

"We have to work together as partners to achieve an objective that will be mutually beneficial and strengthen our position regarding sustainable food systems and economic growth," said Minister Reddy.

Furthermore, Hon. Reddy emphasized the importance of increased landowner participation in agriculture, as well as the urgent need to bring more land into production, while also reinforcing the call for increased youth participation in agricultural ventures.