Engagement focuses on increasing biosecurity threats

Senior officials from BAF, NZMPI, NZHC, MOA Fiji and MITT Fiji pose for a group picture at the meeting. Picture: SUPPLIED

PACIFIC island countries are falling victim to the dreaded effects of climate change whereby the risks of invasion of new pests and diseases never seen before in the region is slowly becoming a reality.

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji Chief Executive Officer Hillary Kumwenda highlighted this during a successful bilateral engagement with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries in Nadi.

The bilateral engagement was to discuss biosecurity matters of mutual interest with notable presence of the New Zealand High Commission, Fiji Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism.

Mr Kumwenda said this put additional presence on border protection authorities to respond to these threats efficiently and pro-actively.

He adds that it is important to improve biosecurity at farm level as Fiji is one of the countries with the highest number of plants and plant products exported to New Zealand.

He identified a reduction of pest load in the field as a key ingredient to pest free exports and minimizing interceptions on Fijian produce at the New Zealand border.

New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Halia Haddad said New Zealand was more than ever before committed to working with Fiji to address biosecurity and market access challenges.

She adds that this is part of the New Zealand Government’s reforms under the Pacific Reset move.

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