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Bainimarama: Fiji Looks At Food Self-Sufficiency

Fiji looks at food self-sufficiency

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has told world leaders that Fiji is exploring areas that will assist in meeting its food requirements in a sustainable manner.

Speaking at the High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy in Rome, Italy, Mr Bainimarama said food security was an issue that Fiji was actively addressing with the Ministry of Primary Industry involved in numerous programmes that will look at introducing new products and better marketing existing ones.

He said the Ministry has put in place programmes to see that Fiji is self-sufficient with its dairy products by 2015.

"Officers in the Ministry of Primary Industry have reacted to rising prices by putting in place a number of programmes designed to alleviate the difficulties faced by those members of our community most at risk," he said at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) meet.

Mr Bainimarama said while the world food crisis had adversely affected the poor in Fiji, there were certain industries that were now enjoying better price due to the high demand such as the rice industry.

"Our rice growers are now enjoying unprecedented incomes and the rice industry has received a long overdue boost."

"We are adding momentum by allocating resources to the industry," the PM said.

He said Fiji's starchy staple food was now in high demand in the overseas market with the prospects for ethanol production through cassava looking promising.

"We are going through an exhaustive evaluation of an industry based on the production of ethanol from cassava - again the momentum and spin-off from such activity will benefit the poorer members of our community. Other assistance has been secured in other areas," PM Bainimarama said.

Moreover, he acknowledged the assistance of regional bodies such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community that has provided the expertise in the endeavour to make breadfruit a year-round commodity as well as assisting in the establishment of high quality sheep production.

"Fiji needs assistance in the area of skills training in running small businesses for farmers to make their profession meaningful and income generating enterprises," Mr Bainimarama said.

ENDS

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