The Republic of Fiji is an archipelago of around 330 islands and more than 500 islets. The agricultural sector employs close to two thirds of the labour force. Over one third of Fiji's population lives in poverty.
Over the past decade, the agriculture sector contributed an average of 10.6 per cent of Fiji’s total annual GDP, reflecting a decrease from 16 per cent in the 1990s. Recent challenges to the sector have included a declining sugar industry, inability to cope with trade liberalization, natural disasters, pest and disease outbreaks, and trade restrictions in export markets.
Fiji's economy has continued to grow, and notwithstanding reduced sugar exports, its agricultural sector is expanding. However, the country is highly vulnerable to natural disasters.
Agriculture, forestry and marine ecosystems are under threat from growing population pressure and climate change. Severe weather is putting poor rural people — especially Fiji's agricultural producers — at high risk, threatening their incomes.
For more than 30 years, IFAD has been providing financing and technical assistance to help rural people in the Pacific improve their lives. Although IFAD has financed many activities in Fiji through regional agencies and programmes, the first IFAD country programme investment was approved in 2015.
IFAD operations have a special focus on remote areas and upland communities in Fiji, as well as on investments that benefit young people and women.
IFAD-supported projects are aimed at addressing the most pressing challenges facing rural people. An important focus is production of local food crops, especially indigenous and traditional foods, that can handle a changing climate and provide nutritious meals for the local population.
Key activities include:
- enhancing smallholder farmers’ ability to produce and market high-value crops, including through organic certification;
- boosting development of the agribusiness sector by facilitating partnerships between smallholder producers and private entities, and by strengthening the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture;
- strengthening local participation and governance mechanisms to engage rural communities with national policy and planning processes.
Approximately 43 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, according to 2015 estimates. Over one third of Fiji's population lives in poverty.
Since 2015, IFAD has supported one programme in Fiji for a total amount of US$3.5 million, directly benefiting 2,225 rural households.