In response to the European Union (EU) preferential trading mechanisms and its reforms in the sugar sector, the EU is financing several projects in Fiji’s sugarcane belt through the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) programme. The programme is designed to improve the livelihoods of sugarcane dependent populations, increase income and reduce poverty.
The Improvement of Key Services to Agriculture (IKSA) project is one such AMSP programme and is a six-year project which started in June 2012 and which will run until June 2018. The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). The 4.4 million Euro IKSA project is working to support farmers in Fiji’s sugar cane belt to increase and improve the production of horticultural crops through the provision of enhanced horticultural research and extension, nursery development and market access.
The IKSA project objective is to help cushion the economic and social impact of the sugar sector restructuring by supporting a diversified market-driven agriculture sector. The aim is to improve and enhance key agricultural services to enable sugar cane farmers to consider adopting additional and complimentary production of horticultural crops in order to cushion the economic and social impacts of the restructuring of the sugar industry. Its primary focus is to increase on-farm incomes by enhancing the supply capacities of farmers within the sugar cane belt who are growing horticultural produce by assisting ease of access to seed, seedlings and inputs, provision of practical training through farm demonstration plots and communications, and linkages to markets. IKSA is consolidating project achievements by working closely with the Government of Fiji through the Ministry of Agriculture, to strengthen research and extension services and to enhance support services to farmers in the sugarcane belt area.
- Overall, the project aims to help cushion the economic and social impact of the sugar sector restructure by enabling a more diversified, market-driven agriculture sector.
- Specifically, it is designed to improve and enhance key services to agriculture.
Designed to increase incomes and production of farmers with horticulture crops in sugar dependant areas, the programme is focusing on providing support to farmers to adopt and increase the production of horticultural crops and is providing them with indirect support through horticulture research and extension. The project is also assisting in the development of import substitution and export opportunities and to enable farmers and exporters to take advantage of these opportunities.
An increase in income levels amongst target groups will be achieved by enabling farmers to access opportunities in horticulture markets by strengthening of farmers’ production and farm management skills, development of trading relationships, and improving access to inputs and extension.
- Horticulture/food crops value chains are supported and supply capacities enhanced.