6 Sep 2012

China to assist Fiji's rice industry

3:15 pm on 6 September 2012

The Ministry of Agriculture in Fiji says China has offered to provide machinery and technical advice to help Fiji boost its rice industry.

A delegation from China recently visited Fiji to consider ways to help with Fiji's rice revitalisation programme, which aims to achieve food security and reduce the rice import bill.

A senior agriculture officer Jone Matawalu says the rice industry is facing a number of challenges, including a labour shortage, high production costs and insufficient mills.

"From what we gather from their discussions, they'll be assisting us in some of the machinery and some of the technical advice that will really help us. Also the capacity building. And at the moment I cannot tell you how much they'll assist us with."

Jone Matawalu says the ministry of agriculture hopes to increase rice production by at least 40 percent by 2014 and reduce Fiji's rice import bill by just over five million US dollars by then.