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Need and room for developing Hong Kong's agriculture and fisheries

Chairman Dr Jonathan Choi and members of the new term of the Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries (ACAF) will take office tomorrow. This morning, I had a meeting with the ACAF's outgoing and new members at the Central Government Offices along my government colleagues, including the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man; the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Food), Mrs Cherry Tse; and the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Dr Leung Siu-fai.

I told the ACAF that the current-term Government attaches particular importance to the development of Hong Kong's agriculture and fisheries. We believe that Hong Kong should diversify its economic structure rather than concentrating on one or two industries. The agriculture and fisheries industry, just like such other industries as tourism, needs the support of government policies and funds. The current-term Government has therefore set up a Sustainable Agricultural Development Fund and a Sustainable Fisheries Development Fund with $500 million each.

Although Hong Kong's agriculture and fisheries industry does not make a significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, it helps meet part of the local demand for wholesale food and flowers. It also provides alternative employment and career development opportunities for quite a number of young people interested in joining the industry.

I believe that Hong Kong's agriculture and fisheries should pursue a high-end direction with the use of technology, economy of scale and corporatisation.

The Agricultural Park proposed by the current-term Government will be an excellent platform to showcase new agricultural practices. It will promote the transformation and upgrading of Hong Kong's agriculture by pooling together capital, technology and marketing expertise from the Government and the community.

Through enhancing the value of agricultural production, we can reverse the trend of incursion of agricultural land by non-agricultural uses in Hong Kong's rural areas and restore our rural landscape. This will be another benefit of pro-actively developing our agriculture and fisheries industry.

May 31, 2017