Monday, May 20, 2024
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Share collective shield for biosecurity: PM

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has called on collaboration amongst stakeholders to share responsibility and collective shield for biosecurity, securing a prosperous and resilient future for all.

While opening the Biosecurity Emergency Simulation exercise in Nadi, Rabuka emphasised that together, we uphold this commitment for the well-being of our nation and beyond.

“In our interconnected world, biosecurity is a proactive measure to prevent crises, ensuring the sustainability of our agriculture and the health of our ecosystems, people and our very homes and communities.”

He said collectively, we hold the responsibility to safeguard our agricultural wealth, the backbone of our economy, and the sustenance of our people.

“Biosecurity is our first line of defence against the global threat posed by pests, diseases, and invasive species.”

He said for Pacific Island states and territories, agriculture are not just an industry; it is a way of life and in Fiji, agriculture is the backbone of our economy supporting a quarter of our population.

“Agriculture also contributes significantly to our GDP—approximately 10% in recent years — and employs around 44% of our workforce.”

“However, exotic pests and diseases threaten this vital sector, potentially devastating our crops, harming livestock, and threatening food security for our people.”

“The environment we cherish is equally at risk. Invasive species can disrupt natural ecosystems, endanger native plant and animal species, and lead to biodiversity loss.”

“The ecological balance we strive to maintain is fragile, and our actions today are crucial in safeguarding it for future generations.”

The economic implications of failing to address such threats are severe and the cost of inaction far exceeds the investment in prevention and preparedness.

“An outbreak could lead to significant losses in agricultural productivity, costly eradication efforts, and inflict long-lasting damage to international trade relationships.”

The Prime Minister said we must ensure robust biosecurity measures to protect our nation and economy.

“The global cost of invasive species has been estimated at nearly $1.4 trillion annually — that is close to 5% of global GDP.”

“In the 2023-2024 National Budget, the People’s Coalition Government allocated $3m towards the Termite Control Assistance Programme (‘TCAP’) to curb the spread of Asian Subterranean Termites (‘AST’) in addition to a grant of $300,000 to BAF to assist with response activities.”

On behalf of the Fiji Government, he extended his gratitude to the Australian Government for funding this critical exercise through the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and to the Pacific Community “SPC” for their co-funding.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports |


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