The Agriculture Sector plays an integral part in the Fijian economy given its capacity to contribute effectively towards key policy priorities such as employment, food security, foreign exchange earnings and economic growth. It contributes around 28% to total employment in the formal sector. The sugar industry is one of the largest contributors to export earnings and supports the livelihood of close to 200,000 Fijians. In 2012, sugar and molasses exports accounted for around 18.0 percent of total domestic exports. The non-sugar agricultural sector contributes around 7.0 percent to GDP. The commodities under non-sugar agriculture comprise root crops, tropical fruits, vegetables, spices, coconut products, cocoa, poultry, dairy and livestock.
The fisheries sector contributes around 2.8 percent to GDP and 9.7 percent to total export earnings. Most of Fiji’s fisheries products are exported to key markets in Japan, USA, China, Thailand and New Zealand. The new Offshore Fisheries Management Decree will improve the overall management and sustainability of the fisheries sector in Fiji. Since fish is a key resource, more emphasis is being placed under the Decree to deter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU). The sector boasts diverse resources of marine life species that ranges from finfish products such as fish species as in yellow fin tuna, big eye tuna, albacore tuna, marlin, swordfish, mahimahi, and deep water fish like snapper and reef fish species like sea-bream, trevally, groupers, coral trout and rock cods to aquaculture products which include prawn, seaweed, giant clam and tilapia farming. The overall performance of the sector over past years is attributed to increased catch and prices of tuna for the Japanese sashimi market. The performance of the sector is closely linked to the growth of offshore fisheries.
The strategic goal of the sector is for sustainable management and development of forest resources. Fiji has the world’s largest mahogany plantation with significant untapped revenue generating potential. Export earnings from forest products have been moderately pegged around one percent of GDP in the last 3 years. However, this contribution can change should the focus is to maximise harvested logs targeting veneer and value addition products. Over 50 percent of Fiji’s land cover is made up of native forests. There is about another 5 to 6 percent land in pine and hardwood plantations. Timber production is projected to have contracted by an annual 8.6% in 20113 underpinned by the decline in actual pine and mahogany production.The industry is expected to grow by 19.8%3 in 2012 based on the commencement of Tropik Wood’s operations in April, 2012 at Wairiki, Vanua Levu. Mahogany industry allows for industry liberalization. Estimated 20-year production horizon for the existing plantation with a 20-year rolling regeneration cycle resulting in minimal environmental impact. Target buyers for intermediate value-added products are the high-end furniture manufacturers in China and the US.
Mining industry in Fiji is growing witnessing the fifth mining permit being recently issued to Viti Mining Limited, increasing the number of productive mines in Fiji to a total of five. The other four existing mines include the Vatukoula Gold Mine, the Xinfa-Aurum Bauxite Mine, the Wainivesi Zinc Mine and the Amex Iron Sands Mine.
There is also a huge potential for other new mines to come into operation in the near future as four additional projects are currently in their advance stages of exploration. As at September 2013, a total of 74 exploration licences were issued compared to 60 in 2012, which is inclusive of 16 exploration licenses for deep sea mining.
Infrastructure Development and Public Utilities
Infrastructure development plays an important role in stimulating growth, improving access to services and enhancing living standards. In 2012, Government embarked on an ambitious initiative to improve the state of our infrastructure with an unprecedented investment of over $400 million for road development. Apart from increased investment in roads, Government has also increased its funding allocation for the provision of water and sewerage services. Improving access to reliable electricity and power supply is an ongoing commitment of Government. In 2014, Government will extend the main power grid along the King’s Highway and further allocated $10 million for the rural electrification projects. Funding support for renewable energy projects will also continue in the next couple of years.
Government has undertaken major investments in health infrastructure with the object to support its efforts to decentralise and improve accessibility to health services around the country. A total budget of $28 million has been allocated this year (2014) for the refurbishment of existing health infrastructure and construction of new hospitals/clinics.
Investment in education is a major priority for Government recognising that every Fijian child has a right to education, whether it be early childhood education, primary or secondary education, or even tertiary education. Everyone should be given the opportunity to obtain a good education and achieve their dreams and aspirations. The right to education is also a fundamental right under the new 2013 Constitution, therefore, it makes it imperative for Government to provide this opportunity to all Fijians.
Fiji’s energy situation is characterised primarily by a high reliance on imported fuels. Therefore, there is a need to act now to reduce the reliance on imported fossil fuels through renewable energy while increasing the efficiency of use of current fossil fuel supplies. Challenges will remain in the short-term but planning and implementing suitable measures today will enable substantive reductions in the medium to long-term. Fiji’s energy demand is driven by transport fuels (42%) and commercial electricity consumption (22%) followed by industrial and residential usage (14% each) including Agriculture with 8%. Currently, renewable energy constitutes 64% of total energy Major initiatives of the Government’s Energy Policy encompass: target set at 90% Renewables for the Electricity Sector in 2015; current review / reorganisation of the utility that will seethe removal of regulatory aspects of the industry from the utility;earlier review of the tariff that have seen major changes to the various bands (consumer types); increase of the IPP tariffs to around 23 cents, and working on Net Metering and Feed in Tariff.
Tourism is one of the major drivers of Fiji’s economic growth and is the largest source of foreign exchange. A tourism earnings of F$1.303 billion was estimated in 2012 and F$1.330 billion projected for 2013. The sector accounts for 39,500 direct employment or 11.7% of total employment.
Australia and New Zealand continue to be Fiji’s dominant source tourist markets with a combined share of 67 percent. United States of America, Canada make up 11 percent of the market share, EEC including the UK 7 percent, Japan, China/HK & Rest of Asia 7 percent, Pacific Islands 6 percent and Others 1 percent.
One of the most thriving sectors within Fiji’s growing economy is manufacturing. These include the manufacture of textiles, garments, footwear, sugar, tobacco, food processing, beverages (including mineral water) and wood based industries. The sector employs approximately 26,000 workers and is one of the nation’s growing sectors. Fiji made products has made substantial progress in the international trading arena such as the likes of Pure Fiji, Fiji Water, Pacific Green Furniture and FMF Foods Ltd.
Fiji is well positioned to attract ICT investments, starting from the lower end and moving up the value chain. Fiji has managed to secure its position in attracting renowned ICT investors to locate their back offices offshore. The objective for Fiji’s ICT industry is to harness Fiji’s ideal geographic location, competent good English-speaking workforce, and world-class IT infrastructure to promote Fiji’s capability and competitiveness and create a dynamic, vibrant and well connected e-society.
Fiji is becoming one of the most sought after productions locations in the world. It makes business sense to shoot in Fiji for a number of reasons:
- Breathtaking, diverse locations & good climate;
- Time saving;
- Film anywhere;
- Competitive wage rates;
- Multilingual and multi-cultural society;
- Filming equipment;
- Top class accommodation & great recreational facilities;
- State of the Art Communications; and
- Ready Access to other parts of the world.