Fiji imports $21.4m of fresh fruits annually
21 April, 2019, 6:30 am
FIJI annually imports $21.4million worth of fresh fruits and $0.33million of processed fruits, the Agriculture Statistics 2018 Trade Data reveals.
However, Ministry of Agriculture deputy secretary for agriculture development Jone Sovalawa during the launching of the Establishment of Fruit Tree Orchards initiative Volivoli Village in Sigatoka this week said reducing the trade deficit caused by the importation of fruits and vegetables remained a key priority of the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Fiji has been relying on its traditional fruits such as banana, pineapple, papaya and mangoes over a number of years with imported fruits such as apples, oranges, pears and grapes having also taken a wide market share,” Mr Sovalawa said.
He said Fiji had the potential to reduce 50 per cent of this import bill by focusing its resources on growing or producing more specific, high potential fruit items locally.
He said at present, Fiji relied largely on imported produce to meet the demands of its tourism sector.
He added that the agriculture sector would continue to play a dominant and leading role in the growth and development of Fiji’s economy through the provision of food security for the rural and maritime areas.
Mr Sovalawa said the Ministry of Agriculture continued to identify opportunities to link the tourism and the agriculture sectors, with the onus on the local agriculture sector to produce quality products in the correct quantity on a consistent basis.
“Under the Establishment of the Fruit Tree Orchards initiative, the Ministry will ensure the setting up of organised orchards of selected fruits in strategic locations to make fruits readily available to locals as well as to our ever-growing tourism industry and for our export markets.
The newly-introduced fruit tree varieties will be available to farmers to boost existing production for import substitution and export promotion while also supporting the fruit industry.