MINISTER for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with non-resident ambassador of Israel Tibor Schlosser, who signed the MOU on behalf of “MASHAV” – Israel’s Agency for International Development Co-operation.
Mr Seruiratu, after welcoming Mr Schlosser, said the Fijian Government had big plans for agriculture.
“And we’ve got the will and the commitment to further improve the agricultural sector because indirectly and directly more than 200,000 people benefit from the sector. And of course a good percentage of our people still live in rural areas and agriculture is their livelihood and most importantly to address the socioeconomic issues that we face and most particularly to contribute to the growth and development of the country particularly in terms of increasing our contribution to GDP,” Mr Seruiratu said.
He said agriculture was critical for Fiji particularly in terms of sustainable development goals particularly on SDG 2 on zero hunger because these were the key issues in as far as sustainable development was concerned.
“Water, resources, energy and of course food security and Government is keen on pursuing these goals and making sure that our people are not only are provided for in food security but in nutrition security as well.
“So the signing of this MOU is an opportunity for us to access technology and benefit from Israel’s experience and knowledge in agriculture which is well known the world over and of course we are thankful that we can benefit from this and we look forward to the exchanges under the MOU we will sign today.
“We look forward to the mutual benefits this agreement will bring,” Mr Seruiratu said.
Mr Schlosser said it was an honour and a great pleasure to be here to sign the MOU with the Minister for Agriculture.
“Last night I sampled one of your most important agricultural products and I really slept well. You probably know what I’m talking about. Well, I tasted your kava,” he said.
Mr Schlosser said Israel was in the same situation as Fiji more than 70 years ago.
“And you have emphasised education. Education was the only thing we had 70 years ago. Our situation was even harder because we didn’t have that vegetation you have around you. We didn’t have the rain; ours was a very arid place. And in 70 years, with the right attitude, and with education, we have developed ourselves,” Mr Schlosser said.
He said after 70 years they had reached a stage where they could help others.
“And this is what we do; this is why I’m here. We are here to share our knowledge, our experience, our skills and our technology with you. If it is in agriculture, in water management, in food security, health and other related issues. All these are here with me to support you in your process,” the ambassador said.
The event ended with the signing of the MOU by Mr Seruiratu and Mr Schlosser followed by an afternoon tea.