August 15, 2019       Paradiso Restaurant & Bar

Diplomatic Corps 
Government Representatives,
Our Agriculture Stakeholders,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa bula vinaka and good evening to you all.

It’s a pleasure to be here tonight to introduce to you all, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Strategic Development Plan 2019/2023. 

Our staff and management has worked tirelessly over the last few months to develop and finalize the SDP 2019-2023 which I’m pleased to say has been endorsed by the Cabinet with the support of the Minister.  

This SDP lays out the Government’s 21st –century vision for Fiji’s agriculture sector, a 5 year development plan to modernise the industry and make our farmers the most competitive and successful in the region. 

The Ministry’s 2019-2023 Strategic Development Plan encompasses those strategic priority goals and key development targets that the Ministry, key stakeholders and partners has identified for the Agriculture Sector in Fiji. It takes into account the intent captured in the National Development Plan and shall also contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This is reflected by the Vision of “Creating a Competitive, Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture Sector”. 

There are 3 important functions of the SDP

i. To provide a clear strategic direction for agriculture in line with the collective national NDP vision utilising allocated resources in a timely and efficient manner; 

ii. To guide annual national fiscal planning and National Budget cycles through MoA’s Annual Costed Operational Plan (COP). 

iii. To promote dialogue and collaboration across Government, with farmer groups, private sectors and bilateral partners.    

The implementation of the SDP will be monitored through a result framework that is linked to NDPs key performance indicators. A mid-term review of the SDP to allow for updates and adjustments to the Plan’s overall approaches and plans will also be undertaken.

Five key strategic priorities were identified. These are 1) food nutrition, 2) sustainable livelihoods, 3) climate resilience, 4) commercial agriculture and 4) strengthened service delivery. The Hon Minister will be elaborating on these points.

This will enforce MoA’s central mandate in ensuring food and nutrition security and strengthening agricultural growth in line with the broader development goals set out in the Government’s 5 and 20-year National Development Plan (NDP). Within this context, our SDP provides a clear, coherent set of strategic priorities that supports these NDP goals over the next 5 years.

The SDP provides space for dialogue and greater collaboration with all our stakeholders. This includes other Government Ministries, farmer networks, the business sector, donors and development partners.  My hope is that the SDP triggers inclusive dialogue, discussion and strengthens existing and new partnerships to generate new energy, focus and new actions moving forward. This is critical as development is an inclusive effort – and we need our collective skills, resources and talent to deliver meaningful results for our customers and our farmers. This also calls for new, dedicated capacity on the part of MoA to better engage and direct external technical and financing partners and mechanisms to our key needs and opportunities for collaboration.

Three key changes are happening now at the Ministry. 1) New plan; 2) new structure to support the plan and the focus on 3) Commercial Agriculture and an important driver for growth in the sector.

Before I take my seat, I know that I only have 2 months to work on this plan before the new PS (Mr. Dass) will resume and I focus on my new role at the Ministry of Rural and maritime Development. I am really looking forward to this new appointment and improve service delivery.

Let me assure you all that the plans are in place and it’s a government plan. Not my plan. It’s our plan. Now is to implement and run with it. And I will make sure with the support of the Minister that it is a smooth transition to lift the Ministry to a new level.

With these words, I thank you all for being present here tonight and look forward to working hand-in -hand with all our stakeholders to ensure the success of the SDP. 

Vinaka Vakalevu, Thank You and Dhanyevaad.