A mother and son were excited to sign up as voluntary members with the Fiji National Provident Fund at a Rice Field Day demonstration in Nadi last week.

Mother, Ms Asha Devi, 52yrs, and her son, Mr Shalvin Krish Sharma, 28yrs, are farmers of Nawaicoba, Nadi.

Devi said she attended the event because she had heard that representatives of FNPF would also be present.

“I am a farmer, and I don’t work. So when I heard FNPF will be here, I came because I want to open my account. This is my first time,” she said.
Her son, Mr Sharma said he used to work but in the last nine years’ he has been helping his dad on the farm.

“My FNPF is not much after all this time. But I will be harvesting karela today, tomorrow I will sell it in the market then I will go straight to FNPF to put money in there, so at least I can have some money to retire with,” he said.

Sharma said it was the first time that FNPF came to their area and it made them very happy.

He said his family used to plant sugarcane but stopped because they could not afford to pay labourers.

He now concentrates on vegetables and tilapia farming.

Their neighbor, Mr Rakesh Kumar was also a happy man.

“I am 40 years old and I have never had an FNPF card before.

“The Minister, Mahendra Reddy came today to help vegetable farmers like myself to join FNPF, that’s why I am very happy to put my money there thanks to the support from Government,” said.

The Rice Field Day demonstration was officiated by the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy in Nawaicoba, Nadi and attended by farmers in the area.

The event was also to encourage farmers to take up rice farming where the Ministry of Agriculture would provide assistance including technical advice, rice padding or seedlings, even facilitate market access via Fiji Rice Limited in an effort to reduce Fiji’s import bill for this specific commodity amounting to $46.2m annually.

A talanoa session with farmers was also held following the official programme.

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