With the appointment of Lavinia Kaumaitotoya (pictured above) as its first CEO the Fiji Crop & Livestock Council (FCLC) Secretariat has taken a major step forward in putting in place the structure that will support the development of the agricultural sector in Fiji.
According to its Inter Chairman Simon Cole, the main objective of the FCLC is to act as an apex forum for advocacy to better represent the needs of farmers to Government and stakeholdersas well as raise the profile of Fiji?s farmers involved with crops and livestock production.
Ms Kaumaitotoya comes to FCLC Secretariat as not only a business executive who has held key positions in companies such as Air Pacific Ltd, Airports Fiji Ltd, and Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd. but as a ?hands-on? farmer of cash crop vegetables, and more recently, combining this with layer chicken breeding.
She will lead the Secretariat of the Council with an estimated 30,000 farmers throughout Fiji represented by its member associations in a number of disciplines including Pig, Dairy, Beef, Sheep/Goat, Root Crop, Ginger, Kava, Honey, Salad Vegetables, Fruit and Coconut Associations, as well as Food Processors.
?I see the role of FCLC as a catalyst for food security, to encourage a sustainable domestic agricultural market with reduced imports and increase exports.? We will work with our farmers on increasing the yield and quality of their crops and size of their businesses; as well as the health of their livestock and encourage efficiency to ensure that they are financially rewarded for their efforts.
?We also need to encourage the younger generation to see farming as a viable career, and theneed to honour our farmers for the outstanding contribution they have made to the nation?s economy,? said Ms. Kaumaitotoya.
Government established FCLC in conjunction with private sector agricultural associations in July 2010.? Since then, the Council has been working closely with the Ministry of Primary Industries and stakeholders to address concerns affecting the agricultural industry.
The FCLC Secretariat is funded through the ITC Fiji – Improvement of Key Assistance to Agriculture funded by the EU through the Accompanying Measure for the Sugar Protocol.