Minister for Agriculture Hon Inia Seruiratu while addressing regional delegates at the 2015 Pacific Community Agritourismin Sofitel in Denarau. Photo: IVA DANFORD-NAISARA
Agribusiness-tourism linkages are perhaps one of the most promising avenues for diversification and trade growth for the agricultural sector in the Pacific.
These were the comments by the Minister for Agriculture Hon Inia Seruiratu while addressing regional delegates at the 2015 Pacific Community Agritourism meeting in Nadi yesterday.
Minister Seruiratu said integrating these two economic activities (agriculture and tourism) presented opportunities for stronger collaboration around agribusiness development in niche markets in support of local agri – food sector and small – scale farmers while reducing the import bill of Pacific island economies.
“This conference is being organised to exchange experience on successes demonstrating the potential of Agritourism markets, particularly about strengthening linkages between national and regional value chain actors with the tourism industry,” he said.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to have a delegation from the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean attending this event and to share their experiences – I urge you all to make the most of the opportunity and explore what synergies are there between the two sectors in our two regions – which whilst far apart, share many characteristics and challenges, which only we in the islands are all too familiar with, and can really comprehend and appreciate.”
The agriculture ministry’s vision he says was to influence market forces through vibrant and sustainable agriculture activity that reduces poverty, reduces the risk of food insecurity and increases the contribution to the national gross domestic product.
“The Plan also brings into perspective the Fiji 2020 Agriculture Sector Policy Agenda which focuses on modernizing agriculture and lifting the sector to another level. This, it endeavours to do by building a modern and organised agriculture in Fiji, developing an integrated infrastructure support system for agriculture, improving delivery of agriculture support services, enhancing capabilities to generate fund and secure investment through foreign investment, public private partnership and other innovative business arrangements such as, for example, cluster development and improving project implementation and policy formulation,” Minister Seruiratu said.
“We share the surrounding Pacific ocean and our lands produce some of the best produce around – taro, cassava, breadfruits, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, to name a few, and of course the ever versatile coconuts. How can we explore and utilise opportunities to leverage on the shared natural resources and expertise and other resources that is available to us – be it in agricultural development, tourism aspects, cultural and creative industries and so forth.”
The three-day symposium is being organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in partnership with European Union and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and is also attended by delegates from the Caribbean.
“Do not only identify areas in which we can all work together to enhance and strengthen agribusiness and agri – tourism, but identify ways and resource opportunities to support this work and truly make it happen.”