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Authorities work to solve export issue


Aug 07, 2015 09:45:34 PM

Authorities work to solve export issue The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism are taking urgent action to ensure that Fijian agricultural products continue to be exported freely and safely to New Zealand.

This comes in the wake of a rejection by the Ministry of Primary Industries of New Zealand of a shipment of eggplant due to an anomaly in the operational measures taken in Fiji under the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement, and its subsequent suspension of shipments of four agricultural products.

Attorney General and Minister for Public Enterprises, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Fijian Government believes that the actions taken by New Zealand to suspend eggplant, mango, breadfruit and papaya imports are unjustified in light of Fiji’s strong commitment to biosecurity and unblemished record in exporting safe agricultural products throughout the region for many years.

“New Zealand authorities have raised no concerns about any specific biosecurity risks associated with the shipment in question. We find it highly irregular that New Zealand has opted to suspend all imports of the four commodities rather than simply rejecting any consignment over which they had concerns. These actions are also inconsistent with New Zealand’s past practices.”

“Nevertheless, the Government of Fiji is conducting an audit of the responsible treatment facility to ensure that its procedures are in line with the standards established in the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement.”

He said the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji have requested to meet in Wellington with New Zealand authorities to resolve this issue.

“This extreme action taken by the New Zealand Government impacts the livelihoods of Fijian farmers, and the Fijian Government will not rest until normal exports to New Zealand are restored.”

By Reginald Chandar

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