Rice farmer clusters of Vunivau, Korokadi, and Bakale in Bua have received one held-held tractor each from the Ministry of Agriculture to assist them in their rice cultivation and production.
While handing over the hand-held tractors to the three farming groups yesterday, Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Mahendra Reddy said the assistance will be used to increase rice production and improve the livelihood of the farmers.
“The entire country has now realized the importance of agriculture with people being laid off from work and having reduced working hours, they are now turning to farming, and through such assistance, we want you to know that the entire country has realized the agriculture sector’s importance,” he said.
Hon. Reddy said some countries are worried about their food security when there is no economic activity but Fiji is much secure in terms of food security.
“We import 80 percent of our rice from Vietnam and the rest from Thailand as it is very expensive and that is the reason we are promoting rice to become 100 percent self-sufficient in rice in a couple of years,” said Hon. Reddy.
Farmers were informed that the Ministry of Agriculture would be providing rice seeds to non-rice farmers for a quarter-acre with Fiji Rice Limited to purchase the rice.
Moreover, Agricultural Marketing Authority Chief Executive Officer, Alvin Sharma advised farmers on how to diversify their production system to increase their farm income.
Mr. Sharma requested the farmers to plant more uro-ni vonu dalo variety, yellow cassava dalo, duruka, pulses, and turmeric as there are markets for this commodity.
“We have come up with a concept called farmer-contracts, these documents will be finished in a fortnight”, said Mr. Sharma.
AMA is looking to introduce contractual farming for its current and potential suppliers as part of its new programs.