There are plans to further incentivise farmers and interested Fijians to enter into agriculture.
This was shared by Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy while holding informal talanoa sessions with farmers of Korotale, Ellington, Naria, Rarapatu in Ra and Yasiyasi in Tavua yesterday.
Minister Reddy said there were still large tracts of underutilised land available nationwide and this needed to be brought under agriculture, considering the impact the recent spate of natural disasters and its impact on the agriculture sector.
Speaking of Government’s intervention following both TC Yasa and TC Ana, he said the Fijian Government was well aware of the need to fast-track the rehabilitation of affected areas, highlighting that the immediate priority was securing food security for those most severely affected.
Farmers also heard of plans that were in place that could see them benefit directly through Government’s assistance, with Minister Reddy saying that farmers could look forward to a program that would be launched soon as an impetus to further agriculture expansion of current farmers.
Minister Reddy reiterated that ensuring food security was a key priority for the Fijian Government and that it was prudent for farmers to venture towards commercialising their agriculture ventures as these two aspects of agriculture development were in tandem with one another.
Hon. Reddy also heard concerns from farmers regarding the issue of flooding in their areas along with agriculture related issues faced by the farming communities. Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of farmers in Yasiyasi, retired teacher Mr. Rajendra Raglu said the visit was a timely one following the natural disasters the farmers faced.
“This is the right time to come down and see what is on the ground and what is being faced by the ordinary people, and we are at ease knowing you will do everything in your power to ease our burdens,” he said.