Farmers in the Northern Division will soon receive much needed assistance in developing their farm roads, thanks to the assistance provided by the Japanese Government to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Japanese Government signed over a Grant contract with the Minister of Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy that would enable the Ministry to procure an Excavator and two dump trucks valued at almost $USD189k to develop farm roads in Vanua Levu.

“You’re Excellency, as you aware, our agriculture system in Fiji is such that in the rural and maritime areas, the farmers’ stay in the villages, but their farms are far away. A lot of these places, the farm roads are old and require maintenance, or there’s no farm roads, just tracks,” the Minister explained.

“As we leverage and grow agriculture, we need to ensure that people have good access to their farms; are able to take machinery to their farms; or are able to bring large amount of produce from the farm to their house or to the market.”

Minister Reddy said it was the reason that developing proper farm roads was now a critical component of Fiji’s commercial agriculture development strategy.

“Your Excellency, this assistance may seem small to you, but it is a substantial amount of investment that will us assist in creating access to the farm, and from the farm to the market,” he said.

He thanked the Japanese Government for their timely assistance that would assist the 3,000 farmers in Cakaudrove, Bua, and Macuata in developing their farm roads over the next few years.

Japan’s Ambassador to Fiji, H.E. Kawakami Fumihiro said the $USD188,780k to be provided to the Ministry to purchase a new excavator and two tip trucks was done through their Grass Roots Grant Assistance.

“The heavy machineries, which will be provided to the Ministry, are expected to effectively enhance agricultural earthmoving works and construction of farm access roads.

“This is in line with the Ministry’s objective of creating better agricultural infrastructure and land development in the northern division,” His Excellency said.

“We sincerely hope that, the Ministry as well as other stakeholders, farmers will be able to add value to their agricultural yield, as a livelihoods income-generating source, and lead themselves towards prosperity.”

His Excellency also highlighted his country’s recent assistance to the North, where the Embassy of Japan handed over new equipment for disaster preparedness, response and resilience in July, 2019.

In February of this year as well, he said, Japan disbursed its Stand-by loan to Fiji, worth approximately $FJD55m through Japan International Cooperation Agency, to assist in the recovery from TC’s Yasa and
Ana.

“We sincerely hope that our assistance contributes to the recovery from such disasters as well as to the revitalization of the Fijian economy, especially in the northern division,” the Ambassador said.

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