Caption:Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu (middle) with the representatives from IFAD.Photo:SUPPLIED.
The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime and National Disaster, Hon Inia Seruiratu successfully negotiated financial assistance of US$6m to fund the Fiji Agricultural Partnership Project (FAPP) with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) during his recent visit to Rome, Italy.
The objective of this project is to assist small-scale producers engaged in sustainable farming and business partnerships in remote areas particularly the highlands of Viti Levu. The project will be targeted at enhancing the Ministry of Agriculture?s capacity to facilitate the private sector and address the public environment for the involvement of agribusiness in agriculture value chains. At the same time, the project will provide matching grants to small and micro enterprises that are involved in the purchasing of agriculture produce from highland farmers.
?Private Sectors and Small Scale Enterprises involved in the purchasing of farm produce from the rural areas play a critical role and they will be the game changers in Government?s efforts to transform rural areas.
?Government has an important role in providing an enabling environment that will ensure that these businesses continue to thrive and facilitating the flow of agriculture produce from rural areas,? Minister Seruiratu said.
The Fiji Agricultural Partnership Project (FAPP) will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and will formally start in 2016. This project is a follow up to the US$500,000 Partnership in High Value Agriculture which was funded by IFAD and is currently assisting smallholder farmers in Nadarivatu to supply off season vegetables to the local market.
Minister Seruiratu said that the Partnership in High Value Agriculture Project funded by IFAD has been a huge success in empowering smallholder farmers to be successfully linked to the value chains and this new FAPP project will upscale the approach to new farmers in Navatusila, Navosa and Magodro and at the same time support private sector to be better linked to farmers through the provision of matching grants.
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1980, IFAD has provided US $100m to the Pacific in grants and low-interest loans to projects. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialised United Nations agency based in Rome ? the UN’s food and agriculture hub.