The Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forests Lt Col Inia Seruiratu began his official visit to the Philippines on Monday, 28 April 2014. He was accompanied by a team of senior government officials which included the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mr. Ropate Ligairi and the Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests Mr. Inoke Wainiqolo together with Fiji’s Non Resident Ambassador to the Philippines HE Isikeli Mataitoga.
The four day visit allowed Minister Seruiratu to meet His Excellency the Vice President of the Philippines HE Mr Jejomar BINAY and his Ministerial counterpart in the Philippine Government, Secretary Presco ALCALA. In the bilateral ministerial meeting, the two ministers discussed and agreed on cooperation between the Philippines and Fiji in the coconut industry in Fiji, assistance in agriculture will cover development of aqua-farms and rice industries cooperation and how the Philippines has developed special financial products for small and medium enterprises in the primary industry sector.
After the meetings in Manila on Monday 28 April and the morning of Tuesday 29 April the Ministerial Team traveled to Laguna City to visit the International Rice Research Institute [IRRI] and the University of the Philippines, Los Banos for the rest of their visit in the Philippines. The issues prioritized by the visiting Fijian Delegation include briefing and detail consultation from the Philippine Coconut Authority [PCA] covering all aspects of coconut commercial farming and the development of commercial products from Coconut. This would assist in the Bainimarama Government’s policies in developing new products from its primary industries for exports, in its effort to widen the benefits of economic growth in Fiji. The delegation also visited the International Rice Research Institute [IRRI], a world leader in rice research and where the Fijian delegation pursued to get experts to undertake and audit gap analysis of the Fijian Rice Industry that would reset the basis of sustained excellent growth in Fiji.