The importance of implementing robust biosecurity and quarantine systems in safeguarding critical development sectors of the economy was highlighted to representatives and professionals from Pacific plant biosecurity agencies and institutions.
Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Inia Seruiratu reiterated the need to build capacity in the Pacific to address plant pest and disease issues.
He was addressing participants at the Pacific Plant Biosecurity Capacity Building Workshop this week at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi
“This is a very timely initiative by the Australian Government to introduce the Pacific Plant Biosecurity Capacity Building Programme as we embark on this great opportunity to collectively improve our biosecurity performance and capacity in areas that will be identified and improve supply chain compliance to meet biosecurity requirements of export markets.
Mr Seruiratu also highlighted that the initiative would address plant biosecurity impediments to production and market access by enhancing value chains for selected commodities and would improve food security and livelihoods across the region.
“Having a robust and effective biosecurity and quarantine system may be the most important measure in safeguarding our health, environment and agricultural sectors,” he said.
Mr Seruiratu used our localised example on embarking towards the modernisation of the agriculture sector, with the focus to increase Fiji’s non-sugar exports and minimise consumption of imported fruits and vegetables to reflect the importance of biosecurity systems.
“Fiji Agriculture Trade Statistics reports that in 2017, Fiji earned $208million as export earnings for crops and livestock, which is an increase of seven per cent as compared to 2016.”
Mr Seruiratu said Fiji’s top six exported commodities that relied heavily on an effective plant biosecurity strategy in the 2017 traded quantities were taro, cassava, fresh green ginger, eggplant, kava, and papaya.
Source: DEPTFO News