MESSAGE-Minister for Agr ISTF Nadi 23 Oct-speech-final.docx
Hon. Viam Pillay
Asst. Minister for Agriculture
MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON 53rd APCC SESSION/MINISTERIAL MEETING
TARAWA Tuesday 24th October 2017
Executive Director for APCC; Delegates from APCC Member Countries; Government Officials; Observers; Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ni Sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
I am indeed honored to join you and provide few remarks at the 53rd APCC SESSION/MINISTERIAL MEETING.
First of all, allow me to convey greetings from Fiji’s Minister of Agriculture, Rural & Maritime and Disaster Management (Hon. Inia Seruiratu) who is the Climate Change Champion for the COP 23 scheduled to commence on 6th November in Bonn, Germany. Climate Change is a real issue that is affecting our individual countries and Fiji being the Cop 23 Presidency through our Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama, Leading the Global Charge for Action as our collective voice in the upcoming COP 23 meet.
The Fiji Government is committed to revitalize its Coconut Industry and has mapped out keys areas needed to develop and turn it around to achieve the desired profitability as well as sustaining coconut production at all levels. More than 120,000 of our population in our rural communities relied on coconuts for their livelihoods. It is an established crop for more than 5 decades. Major advances in value addition -VCO, soap, gel, flour, handicraft, and coconut water has made coconut a valuable commodity with huge investment opportunities.
The participation of Women & Youth in reviving the coconut industry is worth recognition and the Fiji government is fully supportive on initiatives by this groups.
On the Regional front, the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) is a catalyst in our revitalization program, providing key information from established growers and practitioners throughout the Asia Pacific Region. Fiji is partnering with big coconut producers in the Region and the benefits are to build a stronger network in terms of the latest practices and technology that links with value adding coconut products. The
initiative for APCC to graduate into Global recognition is fully supported by Fiji. It certainly will cement our place & commodity in the world stage with due recognition.
Fiji’s challenges in terms of our location to overseas markets and the distances between our smaller islands and copra producing centers are a reality. The effects of Climate Change through the frequency of natural disasters as well as combination of factors remain key challenges to the industry. The devastation of TC Winston early last year, jolted our past efforts however; rehabilitation of our coconut plantations is progressing well. Fiji Government remains adamant that the coconut industry will survive. The continued support to our farmers and all those in the Supply Chain guarantees that all should greatly benefit from the commodity and in turn contribute positively to our economy.
On behalf of the Fiji Government, I wish to thank the Government of Kiribati for being a wonderful host as well as to all those APCC officials and hardworking individuals behind the scene that assist in the running of this meet.
On that note, Iet me take this opportunity to wish everyone here a successful 53rd APCC meeting and enjoy the fellowship amongst expertise of coconuts in the Region.