A total of 104 smallholder farmers from around the country have benefited from a grant of $140,000 given by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Eleven smallholder farmers received fencing materials last week in Rakiraki through the program which is earmarked to benefit 134 smallholder farmers in total, with the remaining 30 assistance packages to be handed out to selected smallholder farmers soon.
While officiating at the handing over ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Mahendra Reddy said the Ministry of Agriculture had re-evaluated its assistance practice to ensure only commercial oriented farmers received support.
Minister Reddy informed grant recipients to use the assistance to develop their paddocks and ensure they steadily grow their herd to reach commercial levels.
“I would like to thank you, the farmers for the dedication and the effort you are showing in trying to meet the demand of the local and international market, you are our ultimate clients, as Government has placed a lot of trust and hope in you to meet national objectives to contribute to agricultural growth for national development”
He added that the Ministry’s role was to support the advancement of farmers towards self-sustaining models and commercial operations.
“There is huge potential in the livestock sector and we intend to drive farmers from semi-subsistence to medium holding and large holding farmers and for this to happen, we will need to provide them with fencing materials,” said Reddy.
Grant recipient Ami Chand of Saivou, Ra said the assistance was timely and praised the Ministry for ensuring farmers livelihoods were taken care of.
“The Ministry of Agriculture is doing a very good job and is continuing to help us farmers by providing these type of assistance, I’m glad to receive the material which will help to improve my paddock and my animals, and I’m grateful to the Government as I look forward to expanding my farm,” he said.