For the first time ever Government has launched a National Soil Health Card that will allow farmers to better plan the kind of crops they wish to plant on their land, says Minister for Agriculture, Waterways
and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy.
“Unlike blindly applying general fertilizer, when you have a soil health card then you can determine what nutrient or micro-nutrient needs to be addressed,” he said.
Dr Reddy launched the National Soil Health Card in Muaniweni, Naitasiri
He said the card would equip farmers with the knowledge on the best techniques to utilize on their farms.
“It will improve and allow farmers to make decisions about how to undertake farming activities.
“It will allow the Ministry of Agriculture to fine tune applications of organic fertilisers to deal with those nutrients that might be deficit in your farms and therefore will allow you to achieve faster efficiency.”
He said it was of vital importance that soil fertility tests were undertaken regularly so farmers’ would know what the status of their farm soil was.
“Now, it is something that we, the current generation of farmers must accept, must acknowledge and
then take remedial step to improve so that in the future, your children; the next generation of farmers,
will continue to have quality land and soil.
“It is your interest, it is in the interest of your community and it is a national interest that you must
continuously undertake sustainable agricultural practices that will ensure that soil fertility is maintained,
if not enhanced over time,” the Minister said.
The Minister said soil fertility was a dynamic matter and therefore, farmers’ moral and ethical
responsibilities were to undertake cropping practices that would leave the land if possible, with a more
enhanced soil fertility status.
Dr Reddy said in the last decade there was a noticeable decline in the overall soil fertility status in Fiji,
which was found after quite a number of research projects were conducted.
“It is a natural phenomenon that if you continuously farm a particular area and simultaneously don’t
engage in activities that will replenish the nutrients that’s taken out by agricultural activity, then soil
fertility and quality will continue to decline.