Fiji imports annually a wide range of fresh fruits that include grapes, oranges, apples, pears and kiwi fruit with a total value of $17 million and also spends $3.8 million on processed fruits.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Mahendra Reddy while officiating at the Ministry’s Fruit Tree program in Sigatoka.
He says these imported fruits have substituted locally grown tropical fruits such as guava, mango, avocado, oranges, mandarins and other indigenous fruits in our hotels and supermarkets.
Dr. Reddy highlighted that a study in 2017 shows that hotels and resorts in Fiji’s main tourism areas spend more than $74 million to buy fresh produce including fruits of which 52% or more than $38.5 million was spent on imported items.
He says Fiji has the potential to cut more than $24 million of its import bill by focusing its resources on growing or producing specific high potential fresh produce items locally.
Meanwhile, 45 new orchard farmers in the Western, Central and Northern Division who had successfully met the selection criteria for assistance under the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2021-2022 Fruit Tree program have received their offer letters.
DR. Reddy says this sets the model for the establishment of 45 fruit tree orchards, initially on Viti Levu, and is aligned to the Ministry’s 5-year strategic development plan.
He says the orchard development program will enhance public-private partnership towards the holistic development of a sustainable local fruit industry and curb our import bill.
The Minister for Agriculture says the Ministry will provide budgetary and technical support to successful recipients that will include land preparation, supply of agro-inputs, planting materials and as well as regular advisory services.
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