Exports increase despite COVID-19 pandemic

The PS of the Ministry of Agriculture - Ritesh Dass. Picture: SUPPLIED

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, exports in 2020 had increased compared with the first quarter of 2019.

This, according to Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Ritesh Dass while speaking at a webinar session earlier.

Mr Dass said last year, $234 million in total export value of crop and livestock was recorded where a total of 223 crop, livestock produce and products were exported to 47 countries.

“In 2020, we have noted a 2 per cent growth in value for export, recorded a 14 per cent growth in volume of only fresh or chilled export, and documented a 11 per cent average growth rate per month in volume of export from January to March,” he said.

He revealed over the past seven years from 2013 to 2019, crop and livestock export continued to increase.

“There was a fairly modest growth of 0.1 per cent growth in volume of export, 4.7 per cent growth in value of export, and 2.2 per cent growth in value of only fresh or chilled export.”

He said there was real potential to achieve accelerated growth through strong investment support given Fiji had only utilised 20 per cent of arable land for agriculture purposes.

“There is still 80 per cent of arable land not utilised so the potential and the possibilities to invest in this sector is endless and you can be rest assured that you will have the ministry’s full support to assist you in your investment ventures.”

He also revealed the potential areas for investment in Fiji’s agriculture sector were in livestock such as sheep, cattle or dairy, and crops such as rice, turmeric, ginger, cassava, taro, fruits, high value vegetables and coconut products.

Mr Dass explained the opportunities for investment in Fiji’s agricultural sector to over 300 participants worldwide, and led the discussion on Transforming Agriculture agenda in Fiji.

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