Agriculture Exporters Meet to Address Issues
Key stakeholders in the agro-export market today gathered to discuss possible solutions to address pertinent issues faced by exporters in the export pathways.
While officially opening the Agriculture Exporters Symposium at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel this morning, Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mr. David Kolitagane said the objective of the workshop was to address constraints in the agro-export pathway as the impact of the contribution of agricultural exporters was integral to economic development.
“The rationale for organizing today’s symposium is to address constraints in the export pathway, collate information and make appropriate and suitable action plan concerning issues affecting our exporters,” he said.
“Agricultural exporters, you are the driver of development and engines of our economy because the impact of your businesses and the jobs you create contribute to our economic development.
Mr Kolitagane said with Fiji already having existing and favourable quarantine arrangements which allowed trade of agriculture products with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, US, Europe, Canada, China and neighbouring Pacific Island countries, the onus was on exporters to address salient issues such as quality standards, branding, packaging and grading which could not be compromised.
“In order for us to maintain and expand our existing export markets, we need to be vigilant and take heed of these issues, we need to heighten our efforts in resolving those issues because it is critical to the survival of the agro-export industries.
“From a strategic perspective, these anomalies if left unchecked will result in the decline in confidence of exporters that will unduly result in a decline in export performance which will further affect farmers and the agriculture sector as a whole,” he added.
Representatives from Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries also participated at the symposium and delivered presentations on the issues of sea containers hygiene system and fresh produce exports from Fiji to the respective countries.
Agro exporters, selected farmers, relevant Non-Governmental Organisations, regional organizations and key agriculture stakeholders were part of the Agriculture Exporters Symposium.
The symposium was jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program. The next session will be held in Nadi on 2 March 2018.