‘Self-reliant rice industry in 20 years’

Visisun Deo works in his rice field at Waiqele in Labasa. Picture: FILE

Fiji will be self-sufficient in rice within 20 years, said Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy in Rakiraki on Monday.

He made the comments while launching the Sugar Cane Growers Fund and Business Link Pacific’s loan package for ginger farmers.

“This year it’s quite likely that the volume of rice harvested is ten times more than last year,” he said.

“In 2018 we were at about 16 per cent self-sufficiency, and we are now going to about 20 per cent in the last three years.

“My feeling is that at the end of this year, we will be much higher than 20 per cent.

“In the next 20 years or so, we should be able to fulfil the demand that we have in Fiji.

“When we are able to take control of the key staple crops, then rise in price due to external factors won’t affect us.”

He said Fiji had several advantages in rice planting with good weather conditions, soil structure and fertility, avaibility of land, technical skill, and a brand image.

“For rice, we don’t have to look for an external market.”

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