The Fiji Livestock Sector Strategy, a first for Fiji, is aimed at re-energising and modernising the local livestock industry so it can meet the needs of the next generation in terms of production and consumption, and providing sustainable livelihoods.
These are the sentiments expressed by the Ministry of Agriculture Acting Permanent Secretary, Uraia Waibuta, on the national strategy which was endorsed this week by stakeholders at the Fiji Livestock Sector Strategy Validation workshop in Nadi, Fiji.
According to Mr Waibuta, “The strategy should also strengthen linkages to domestic, regional and international markets, in line with Fiji’s National Agriculture Policy 2020.”
The three-day workshop was jointly hosted by the European Union-supported Pacific Agriculture Policy Project, the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Fiji Livestock Sector Strategy Working Group.
It aimed to validate the draft Fiji Livestock Sector Strategy and draw on outcomes from the national Livestock Forum held in May, 2015.
The European Union Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E. Andrew Jacobs said, ”The livestock sector has great potential for Fiji. The European Union through the Pacific Agriculture Policy Programme (PAPP) is pleased to support its growth through this new strategy, and we look forward to its successful implementation. I am convinced it will make a big difference to the success of livestock farmers.”
The strategy will develop a clear plan for livestock development given the challenges the sector faces including Fiji’s continued import imbalance for livestock products, the demands from the growing tourism industry, and a renewed national government push for the agriculture sector.
Mr Waibuta noted that for the past five years, the agriculture sector made an average contribution equivalent to 8 percent of Fiji’s total GDP, declining from 16 percent in the 1990s to 7.6 percent by 2014.
“The livestock sector contributed an average of 10.4 percent to the agriculture sector, however, presenting a negative growth rate of 3 percent over the years. For production, commodities such as beef, honey and dairy showed a positive average growth while other industries revealed sluggish movement over the years,” said Mr Waibuta.
The livestock industry has achieved an average export growth rate of 13 percent over the past five years; although it is still heavily dependent on imported livestock products.
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