AGRICULTURE MINISTER HIGHLIGHTS COMMITMENT TO ANIMAL HEALTH PRODUCTION

By ASHTOSH SINGH

In outlining Fiji?s pursuit of reducing its import bill and achieving economic growth, Fiji?s Minister for Agriclture, Fisheries and Forests Mr Inia Seruiratu said that all measures need to be taken to protect and promote the agricultural sector.

Sustainable animal heath production without compromising on animal welfare, disease control, food safety and food security is a vital issue for the Ministry of Agriculture. ,

Mr Inia Seruiratu welcomed participants to the 15th Commonwealth Veterinary Association Regional Conference which began this week.

?This will also lead to economic growth as most Fijians rely on this sector for their livelihood. We are also working to improve our meat production locally in order to meet our demand and increase exports too,? Mr Seruiratu said.

?We need to have a food secure Fiji and most importantly, to have an impact on our economy. We have been relying a lot on tourism and sugar and there is a lot of expectation from the agriculture sector,? Mr Seruiratu said.

In the 2013 national budget, government had allocated around $4million towards the livestock sector including the purchase of veterinary drugs, the dairy industry, goat, sheep, pig, beef, poultry, agriculture, veterinary pathology lab upgrade and animal waste management for livestock farmers.

Also, the targeted import substitution commodities under government?s import substitution program include dairy, sheep and beef and government has allocated a sum of $1million for food security program this year.

Meanwhile, around 150 delegates from 20 countries are participating at this conference, which will end this Friday.