Fiji to export cross-bred sheep to Samoa
100 sheep cross-bred in Fiji for tropical conditions have been exported to Samoa to assist with food security and develop its agricultural sector.
100 sheep cross-bred in Fiji for Pacific conditions have been exported to Samoa to assist with food security and develop its agricultural sector.
The Fiji Fantastic sheep, bred at a privately-owned multiplication sheep centre in Vanua Levu, are the first batch to be exported since the centre was set up six years ago.
The Ministry of Agriculture's director for animal health and production, Tomasi Tunabuna, told Mary Baines the shipment will open up new opportunities for both Samoa's and Fiji's farmers.
TOMASI TUNABUNA: Western Samoa had wanted to develop their sheep industry, and they had requested to buy the Fiji Fantastic breed from Fiji. The shipment that we have just sent towards the end of last week was the supply of 100 breeding females from private farms. We have established multiplication farms in Fiji and we intend to rear breeding stock for farmers and also see if we can meet some demand from neighbouring Pacific Islands.
MARY BAINES: So this breed, Fiji Fantastic, what is special about this breed?
TT: This breed was bred from four different breeds, and it's very suitable for the climate that we have here in the tropics especially the small island countries, Fiji, Samoa, including Vanuatu and the Solomons. They forage on very low quality feed and most of the time less supplement is required to maintain their production, also for breeding purposes. Part of the programmes that these other countries are trying to embark on are the food security programmes, these are the programmes that maintain food production at a community level, and that's where I believe the current shipment was trying to address food security for the Samoan communities. Initially the shipment will be in one of their research stations, going through the normal quarantine procedures that they would want to carry out. And I believe they have some plans to distribute also to multiplication farms, who will do the multiplication for the small hold farms. A lot of the farming communities that we have in the region are small hold farmers and they normally prefer to have breeding carried out by breeder farms or multiplication farms.
MB: So what are some future plans for exporting, is there anything more on the agenda to export to other Pacific countries?
TT: The export to South Pacific Island countries will be very much dependent on the demand that the small islands will have. There are some of the islands which have more of the land mass that can sustain grazing, not only for sheep but for other livestock species that require grazing areas. And the demand for live import will remain. We always want to assist our Pacific Island countries in the supply of their demand for breeding stock.
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