Around 12 more farmers living in Lomaivuna, Naitasiri including a few in their early 20s inked their commitment to provide consistent supply of root crops to the Agro Marketing Authority (AMA).
The Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy said the new cluster formation would join the larger Lomaivuna Cluster that was earlier established to also provide
supplies to AMA in an effort to expand the market and at the same time assist farmers in finding a market for their produce.
“The advantages of organizing a farming cluster are; farmers are like-minded, they grow similar crops, they will target the market and we at the Ministry will train them on compost heap preparation, land
preparation, crop cultivation, and pest management,” the Minister said.
Dr Reddy said Government was removing hurdles from farmers to ensure they fully concentrated on their land to achieve maximum output from it.
“What we are doing is bringing the market to you instead of you going to sell your root crops in Suva or Nausori markets.
We do not want you to divert yourself away from your core business of farming,” he said.
The contract with AMA would mean two things: one, farmers who sign up are committed to consistently supply a certain quantity of commodities; two, AMA would provide the transport to collect the produce from the farmer.
In return, AMA has committed to buy these commodities at a fixed price; no matter how the market may perform, such as a reduction in price due to flooding of the market.
Mesulame Aisake Titifanua, is a farmer from Rotuma who has been farming in Lomaivuna Sector 6 for the last five years. He is also an advisor for a newly formed group of young farmers called ‘Future
Depends Now’ (FDN).
“The young farmers in the group are still in their teens so it will impact them in the long run, in terms of self-motivation, and in terms of independence from their parents so they do things themselves.
“I believe that way that they will be good and successful farmers in the future,” Mr Titifanua said.
Cama Bulivou, 21yrs, a young farmer of the FDN group explained in i-taukei that he had been planting dalo, cassava and ginger and now with AMA he was contracted to provide one acre of dalo and one acre