“We cannot sustain and expand agriculture by not treating it as a business, by not encouraging young farmers to enter into it”

These are the words of the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy as he gave a public lecture on Agriculture Development at Fiji National University.

Minister Reddy highlighted that Ministry’s Agro-Processors Infrastructure Support Program (APIS) budgeted at $1 million, aims to achieve economic growth by encouraging consistent supply, improving existing export pathways and creating new export opportunities. The program is focused on helping exporters meet the standards and requirements of importing countries and businesses. It includes the establishment of collection centers, cold storage systems, and the improvement of current processing and exporting facilities to meet international market requirements.

Furthermore, he also said the Ministry will soon launch a new pasture improvement plan which has just been approved by Cabinet three weeks ago in line with the Juncao technology project which is in Legalega Nadi which was funded by the Chinese Government in 2014. Research has shown that the nutritional content of Juncao grass is superior to any other pasture in Fiji.

“To further improve livestock production, the Ministry will identify and support large farms with planting, processing, and storage of Juncao grass. This shall also build resilience to climate change.  The farmers will not only have a high protein, drought-resistant pasture on their farm, they will also have a seedling source which they can then expand on their farm.” said Minister Reddy.

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