31 Mar 2015

Fiji to boost rice production

3:40 pm on 31 March 2015

The government of Fiji is boosting the rice sector in a bid to cut rice import costs.

Currently Fiji spends more than 20 million US dollars a year on importing rice.

Rice, a staple in the Asia Pacific region

Rice, a staple in the Asia Pacific region Photo: RNZI / KOROI

The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development says that money could instead be used to grow the local rice sector and potentially increase the country's economy.

A joint programme between the governments of China and Fiji to train up rice farmers has just concluded in selected villages.

Inia Seruiratu says rice production costs are higher than import costs, but the investment in local farmers will have better long-term results.

"It is cheaper to import. Definitely. But then we must come up with strategic decisions. But in terms of our own food security measures, we need to have production at the local level as well. We can't be totally relying on our imports."