Strong calls have been made for Fiji's resorts and hotels to source locally grown fresh produce in support of the agriculture sector.
Making this call to action, Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Dr. Mahendra Reddy stressed that it is now time for the local tourism sector to look within when it came to the purchase of fresh produce.
Minister Reddy said with the reopening of international borders later this year, it is anticipated that the tourism sector would return to some sense of normalcy and this offered opportunities for the tourism industry to source fresh produce locally, and to refrain from continued importation of fruits and vegetables.
"Let's create a market for our own produce, and I ask everyone in the country to have a national movement towards buying and consuming our own agricultural produce and products. 
"As we gear up for the reopening of the tourism sector later this year, more agricultural produce will be required, and we are urging hoteliers to buy locally produced agricultural products. Importation of vegetable produce from outside Fiji must stop immediately.”
He said the continuous rebuttals from stakeholders in the tourism sector regarding the inconsistency of supply and lack of quality of fresh produce, as a disincentive to purchasing locally, is unfounded.
"People in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA look forward to buying Fijian produce from their supermarkets, so there is no reason for our hotel sector to claim that our produce is poor quality.”
"We cannot afford to lose foreign exchange through the importation of fresh produce from outside Fiji. Secondly, we want to ensure that our farmers get the opportunity to fulfil the demand in the tourism sector," Minister Reddy added.
Furthermore, all actors within the supply chain have been urged to ensure fresh produce was available for all Fijians too and to meet the demands from all sectors, particularly the hotel industry and export markets.
“It is imperative that we continue to grow our exports, while also ensuring we continue to protect the agriculture sector so that, in the future, if there is any pandemic or natural disaster, it will perform as it did over the last two years when other sectors came to a standstill,” Minister Reddy said.
Senior executives of the Ministry will meet with stakeholders of the tourism industry to discuss ways to help strengthen linkages and create closer synergies between the tourism and agriculture sectors.