Rayalu calls on coconut farmers to ramp up production to meet demand

Rayalu calls on coconut farmers to ramp up production to meet demand

By Marika Rasekaseka
Thursday 21/03/2024

The Minister for Agriculture, Vatimi Rayalu is calling on all coconut farmers in Fiji to replant more coconut to meet the demand that we need.

Rayalu made this statement while conveying his opening address at the National Coconut Day that is being celebrated at the FMF Gymnasium this morning.

The Minister says the Coconut Day celebration holds a special place in our calendar as it allows us to recognise and celebrate the immense contribution of coconut trees to our lives, our economy, and our environment.

Rayalu says to celebrate this tree of life, the coconut tree is a tree in which a lot of things can be made, and it holds immense significance for the Fijian economy.

He says through their Ministry's plan, they are encouraging farmers to expand their coconut farming in their farms and establish more coconut orchards because at the moment, it's not enough to meet our needs and what is expected from the copra economy.

He adds the eastern islands in the Lau Group and the Lomaiviti Group heavily rely on coconuts for sustenance, aesthetics, and cosmetics, which takes us back to the point that the coconut industry plays a crucial role in the economic and social well-being of rural dwellers in the eastern and northern Divisions.

Rayalu says the Ministry has invested $1.4 million this financial year, and through this investment, they aim to improve research and development, capacity building, market access initiatives, coconut farming, and value chains for the sector.

The Minister further says before the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016, the volume of coconut production in Fiji was around 23,855 tons, in 2018, the volume of coconut production stood at around 48,000 tons, which surged significantly to 100,000 tons in 2019.

He adds the volume dropped to approximately 80,000 tons in 2021 and 67,600 tons in 2022 and this was due to the catastrophic impacts of TC Harold, TC Yasa, and TC Ana, respectively.

The Minister also calls on the youths to set clear goals, be like a coconut tree, and be useful in all aspects of their lives.

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