The Ministry of Agriculture has completed its Fiji Taro Industry Plan 2018-2022, which aims to increase taro exports to about 7000 tonnes annually.
This was revealed by the Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Viam Pillay while making his response to the 2018-2019 National Budget in Parliament yesterday.
He said taro remained the top export commodity earning an annual average value of $23million over the past five years from 2013 to 2017.
Through the 2018-2019 National Budget, Mr Pillay said the ministry would focus on increasing taro production through the provision of quality planting materials and agro-plants, infrastructure support and clustering of farmers.
He said a total of 6902 taro farmers were recorded in 2016.
Mr Pillay said yaqona (kava) was the second largest export earner, which generated income stability and employment opportunities in the agriculture sector. “Kava exports were valued at $19 million in 2017 and are well positioned to take advantage of those emerging market opportunities,” he said.
The total number of yaqona farmers recorded in 2016 was 12,192.
Under the land preparation programme, Mr Pillay said they would continue to assist farmers with land clearing and land preparation activities.
This includes ploughing, harrowing, ridging and drainage.
“In 2017 there were 543 farmers assisted under the programme, 293 farmers in the Central Division, 228 in the Western Division and 22 in the Northern Division,” he said.
“The main target of the Budget is to ensure the ministry continues to support more farmers in the next fiscal year.”