Fiji has been selected to pilot a proposed seed system model following an intensive discussion among stakeholders at the Pacific Seeds for Life (PS4L) Fiji Seed Forum in Nadi this week.
PS4L is a New Zealand funded programme implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC)'s Land Resources Division (LRD) in the region.
The new seed model could result in the country paving the way in improving efficiency in production of quality seeds and seedlings of diverse crop varieties and enhancing the commercialisation of seed production.
“With the growing demand for seeds, the industry needs our full support,” said Fiji Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Mr Viam Pillay while officiating at the forum. “Fiji’s import bill for vegetable seeds continued to increase from $FJD1.5 million in 2019 to $FJD2.4million in 2020 and $FJD4.1 million in 2021. These numbers are more reason why we held such a forum to ensure that our concerted efforts are directed towards enhancing development of Fiji’s seed industry.”
The three-day forum brought together representatives from the farming community, research and extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, NGOs, seed suppliers and private seed producers.
SPC's Land Resources Division director, Karen Mapusua said that the successful implementation of the seed system will depend on national and local governments and relevant stakeholders working in close collaboration along seed value chains.
“The economic importance of LRD’s work on seeds is clear – agriculture underpins economies across the Pacific. The challenges of improving food security, ensuring nutritional value, facilitating trade and developing capacity across these areas are central to regional development efforts.”
SPC's team leader for the Sustainable Agriculture Programme, Gibson Susumu said the forum brought key players together to discuss and agree on a seed system model.
“Given the importance of seeds, the SPC's Pacific Seeds for Life programme works to strengthen seed systems in our member countries to ensure ongoing availability and access and use of a diverse portfolio of seeds. We have proposed a seed system model to pilot in six countries – Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Fiji.”
PS4L is a NZ funded programme implemented by LRD and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research New Zealand (MWLR), working in close partnership with the Ministries of Agriculture in the six member countries.