The Fijian Government will continue to improve soil fertility to ensure improved and efficient dalo production and continue development of the commodity for the local and export markets.
This is a key priority according to Minister for Agriculture,Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy as he spoke to farmers in Naitasiri during his two-day Central Division Tour.
Reddy said the Agriculture Ministry continued to invest resources towards strengthening programs centered on improving the soil fertility status in dalo growing areas for enhanced production, particularly in targeted areas in the Central and Northern Divisions.
“Inconsiderate cultivation practices have resulted in the continuous depletion of soil nutrients in Taveuni which has resulted in a 40 per cent drop of dalo exports from the island,” Reddy stated as an example.
“To address the inconsistency of dalo production in Fiji, the Ministry will strengthen its program on improving the soil fertility status in dalo growing areas. This will be achieved through the use of mucuna fallow crop which will improve soil fertility, introduction of agro-forestry, use of poultry manure and the application of phosphorous and potassium fertilisers.” he added.
In addition, Reddy highlighted that the Ministry would actively encourage the implementation of irrigated dalo production systems during dry months and would strengthen advisory technical support services to lift production.
Plans are also in place to strengthen private-public partnership with industry stakeholders for improved coordination to establish effective market access for the farmers.
“There is an urgent need to boost our export market so that we can generate enough foreign revenue which is critical for the economy, which will in turn contribute to the development of the sector as well,” he said.