SUVA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Fijian Ministry of Agriculture will increase production in sheep farming as well as beef and dairy for local and export purposes.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), Fijian Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy said on Tuesday that there is huge potential in the local livestock industry.
Encouraging farmers to work with his ministry to grow from their available assistance, Reddy said the government wants to increase the production of sheep, beef and dairy products to boost exports of Fiji's livestock industry for good economic returns.
The increased preference of Fijians and tourists for sheep and goat meat has spurred Fijian farmers' market opportunities to invest in these animals, according to a press release issued by the government earlier this year.
The import value of mutton currently exceeds 40 million Fijian dollars (about 18.64 million U.S. dollars) and 970,000 Fijian dollars (about 451,923 U.S. dollars) for goat meat.
The minister attributed this preference to Fiji's growing population and urbanization while opening a project-planning workshop to improve the production and supply of small ruminant for Fiji and Samoa, another South Pacific island nation.
In 2018, Fiji's goat industry produced 9.2 tons of goat meat from the formal market and about 184.8 tons of lamb from the informal market, while the sheep industry produced 2 tons of meat from the formal market and about 100 tons from the informal market.
The minister said the small ruminant industry is currently stabilizing in both Samoa and Fiji however, it needs more attention for growth and development through research and development activities in terms of improvement in genetics, nutrition components, pest and diseases and response to changing environmental conditions.