The Ministry of Agriculture and Fiji National University’s College of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (CAFF) have affirmed their mutual agreement to steer the revitalization of the agricultural sector forward.
While delivering a Statement of Cooperation between the Ministry and FNU’s CAFF at the Ministry’s headquarters in Raiwaqa today, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and Waterways and Environment, Dr. Mahendra Reddy said issues pertaining to agriculture could not be addressed in isolation.
“Our National Development Plan, Green Growth Framework and the Fiji Agriculture 2020 Policy Agenda, clearly sets out strategies that the agriculture sector should adopt to further develop our agriculture sector during this challenging time where we experience inevitable losses to the sector by natural disasters, an uncertain and changing climatic regime and increasing domestic and global challenges.
“As such, to put this national documents into action, it is my honor to announce that the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment will work with our National University – Fiji National University, specifically with the College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to develop our agriculture sector through research and innovation and provide policy recommendations to better our Fijian agriculture sector,” Dr. Reddy said.
“Issues pertaining to agriculture cannot be addressed in isolation, there is a need to collaborate, to further develop the agricultural sector in Fiji,” he added.
Reddy highlighted the need for further research and development on agronomy, horticulture, soil science, livestock production, veterinary science, plant pathology and value addition, which were all essentially aimed at climate proofing the agriculture sector.
“The Fiji National University shall provide the innovation and research that are essential to implement our agricultural policy documents. This collaboration should carve the path to overcome the complex challenges that our agriculture sector faces and recommend trans-formative actions to overcome them,” he said.
Professor Paul Ade Iji, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry accepted the Ministry’s request for collaboration as it marked a new beginning in higher levels of collaboration between the two institutions.
“We welcome this spirit of cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment and are open to similar engagement with other stakeholders that are responsible for agricultural development in Fiji,” said Prof. Iji.
“The agricultural industries currently contribute about 10% to the Gross Domestic Product of Fiji. At FNU, we believe that this is a far cry from the potential contribution that the sector can make to the national economy. We are of the opinion that the full potential of the industries can be realized through stronger research and extension collaboration between all the stakeholders, particularly between the responsible Ministries and the large research base at Fiji National University,” he emphasized.
This established cooperation is earmarked to significantly contribute towards the culmination at policy and operational levels between the two institutions to modernize the agriculture sector.