Ministry to invest $1.4m in sector

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The copra mill in Labasa which processes copra and coconuts purchased from farmers in Cakaudrove. Picture SUPPLIED

Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways will invest $1.4 million in supporting and growing the coconut sector in Fiji.

Minister Vatimi Rayalu said this during the National Coconut Day that was held at the National Gymnasium in Suva last week.

Mr Rayalu says through the investment, the ministry aims to improve research and development, capacity-building, market access initiatives, coconut farming, and value chains for the sector.

“Having said that, I want to give out instructions to my senior management that $1.4million for coconut (sector) is not enough,” said Mr Rayalu.

“We need to push up this budget to around $3million, and that should be taken as an instruction and done.”

He said the sector had recorded a decline in productivity in 2021 because of the catastrophic tropical cyclones Harold, Yasa, and Ana, and the supply is not meeting the demand.

Mr Rayalu reiterated, collective effort is required to promote and protect the “precious resource” and the ministry is committed to exploring innovative approaches, embracing technology, and fostering partnerships to unleash the full potential of the coconut tree for the benefit of the people and the country as a whole

. He said not only was the tree a symbol of abundance, but it is also a catalyst for economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and improved livelihoods for all Fijians.

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