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Fiji has the potential to reduce its food import bill

August 21, 2018 1:02 am

Fiji has the potential to reduce its food import bill by twenty-four million dollars.

A Tourism and Agriculture Linkages study that was launched in Suva this morning reveals a list of vegetables, fruits, juices and meat that can be sourced locally.

Speaking at the launch, Tourism and Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya says these include, capsicums, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, rock melon, honeydew melon, beef, prawns, bacon, cheese, to name a few.

”It is important to note, that there has been significant reduction in imports, from 80% in 2011, to 52% in 2017. It is encouraging to note that 48% of the fresh produce needs of hotel are sourced locally. To achieve this feat and address broader issues of sustainability, strengthening linkages and creating closer synergies between the tourism and agriculture sectors is imperative."

International Finance Corporation Vice President, Nena Stoiljkovic says the study reveals that inconsistent supply from local famers, seasonal fluctuation, and problems with the quality of produce are some of the challenges faced by local chefs.

She says there’s also a lack of networking between chefs and farmers.

“It shows that hotels and resorts in Fiji’s main tourism areas spend over $74M on buying fresh produce last year. Fifty-two percent of that was spend on imported items. The study clearly shows that imported food items such as vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat and dairy are a significant cause driver for tourist hotels accounting for $38.5M. What is significant is that Fiji has the potential to cut $24 from its imports bill by focusing its resources on growing or producing certain fresh produce items locally.”

It’s a study piloted by the International Finance Corporation in partnership with the Fijian Government.

The study, ‘From the Farm to the Tourist’s Table’, provides important information for policy makers and the private sector, to enhance linkages between the agriculture and tourism sectors.

Meanwhile, the MITT and IFC today signed a Cooperation Agreement to formalise and further strengthen our partnership which has been endorsed by cabinet.

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