Farmers are being urged to reintroduce traditional farming practices and to implement them where and when it is applicable to help sustain their farming ventures.
This was reiterated by the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy while meeting with farmers of Qeleloa in Nadi during an informal talanoa session held with farmers from the area of Qeleloa and neighbouring communities.
Hon. Reddy shared during the discussions about the agricultural practices of old, stating that though mechanization was the way forward for agricultural development, it had also become evident that a significant number of farmers had developed a culture of dependency.
He said the Government only had a finite amount of resources that could be provided to help rural Fijian communities at any given time, particularly farming centric ones, as assistance provided was rendered on a programmed and scheduled basis, with certain farmers often missing out on available Government programmes.
“You must practice sustainable models of farming because we are trying our best to meet the demands of farmers; we’ve also outsourced land preparation to contractors to help us meet the huge demand of land clearing requests the Ministry receives on a daily basis,” he said.
“Invest in bullocks and horses to provide that additional power, like how our forefathers did, to help till your land and prepare it for the next planting season, it is rare nowadays, farmers are not as self-reliant as in the past and I urge you to learn from the past and to become more independent.
Minister Reddy recommended that farmers not become too dependent on Government assistance and to view their farming as a business model. “Become self-reliant, be a self-starter and don’t depend too much on Government subsidized assistance or development programs, you must promote independence amongst yourselves as a large farming community, only then can you experience a change for the better,” he said.
Meanwhile, Qeleloa advisory councillor Govindama Ramesh thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for all the assistance and development programmes that had been directed towards farmers within the area stating; “the Ministry of Agriculture has been of a great help to our farmers of Qeleloa and we are thankful to the hardworking staff who commit themselves to help us develop our farms,” said Mrs. Ramesh.