Fijian PM urges to reduce import by planting food for tourists

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SUVA, June 16 (Xinhua) — Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Tuesday urged local farmers to grow more food in the island nation.

Speaking during the launch of the Nubu Farms in Nadarivatu, Naitasiri, one of Fiji’s 14 provinces on the main island of Viti Levu, Bainimarama said Fiji is blessed with vast land that should be utilized by local farmers.

In 2019 alone, over 5.4 million Fijian dollars (about 2.5 million U.S. dollars) of carrots and over 1.8 million Fijian dollars (about 829,980 U.S. dollars) of celery were imported even though it can be easily grown in Nadarivatu’s ideal climate.

Nadarivatu has the tropical rainforest climate prevailing with an average annual temperature of 30 degrees and about 2,318 mm of rain in a year.

Bainimarama said not all food in Fiji for visitors is grown locally in commercial quantities as kitchen essentials such as onions, garlic, carrots and celery are imported by hotel and restaurant managers for tourists.

While the 2020 tourism industry has been crippled due to COVID-19, the Fijian government is working hard to get the sector back up and running, he said, adding that when tourism returns to some form of normalcy, he wants more value of big import bills to stay in Fiji.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy said contracted farmers will not need to worry about taking their produce to markets as the Agro Marketing Authority (AMA) will buy directly from them.

AMA is responsible for the purchasing of crops from farmers and for all orders either overseas or for local markets. Enditem

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