All farm access roads on Taveuni will be constructed and those in a poor state will soon be upgraded to help further agricultural ventures on the island.
This was relayed to farmers of Lavena Village in Wainikeli yesterday by the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Mahendra Reddy during an informal talanoa session while responding to issues raised by villagers on the need to improve the quality of access roads on the island.
“We’re trying to assist and raise the level and standard of agricultural production in maritime islands which is why we will construct all farm access roads here on Taveuni.
“We will do all the farm roads on Taveuni at our own cost and will improve it if need be because we understand the difficulty that accompanies agriculture which is why we are assisting to ease the burden, wherever possible, whether through the provision of farm access roads, farmhouses or implements,” said Minister Reddy.
He elaborated that for these works to commence though, approval was required from landowners to use river gravel to upgrade farm roads.
“What we need is approval from landowning units to gain access to river gravel to use on the identified farm access roads, it will take some time but rest assured these farm access roads will be upgraded but this is subject to approval from landowners to use the gravel for upgrading works to be done on farm access roads,” Hon. Reddy said.
He also encouraged farmers to consider diversifying and planting high-value crops that were in demand such as duruka, pulses, and yellow cassava as export markets like Australia looked to be a promising one for these commodities.
Meanwhile, Qali mataqali leader Maretino Masiwini thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for assisting them with a farmhouse and welcomed the news to upgrade farm access roads.
“Through the Qali Yaqona Project we were assisted by the Ministry and it is a very big help considering the distance of our mataqali farm from the village, the farmhouse will be a big help for the members of the mataqali who are using our land to farm, the upgrading of our farm roads will also greatly ease the burden of carting production from the farm as accessibility will be improved significantly,” he said.
Minister Reddy is currently on a two-day tour of Taveuni Island visiting and holding discussions with farmers on the island on issues being faced by them while also visiting public-funded projects.