Farmers in Dreketi and nearby communities can now breathe a sigh of relief following the opening of the new Fiji Rice Limited office and board room in the area by the Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama this morning.

The new office will ensure that farmers do not have to travel all the way to Labasa on a daily basis to receive their rice cheque payments, as has been the practice over the past years.

At the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Bainimarama said that the company has bigger plans in place to benefit the farmers in the area.

“Over the past few years, we’ve given rice farmers in Dreketi new trucks, tractors, and an excavator and with the new government-funded warehouse nearing completion, we’re dedicated to improving every part of our farmers’ lives,” he said.

“We will continue to support the company in its ultimate goal of making Fijian rice production self-sufficient in the years to come.”

Meanwhile, Fiji Rice Limited is planning to upgrade its IT system in the near future, linking the office in Dreketi directly to the head office in Labasa. This would place the company in a position to engage in real time data entry for its stock. It is also encouraging farmers to open personal bank accounts to allow the company to deposit payouts directly into farmers’ accounts.

Fiji Rice Limited’s mill operations manager, Mr Rahil Prasad said it’s through the support of the Fijian Government that the company has grown to greater heights.

Dreketi rice farmer Vijendra Kumar said the plight of spending almost one whole day to collect their monies from Labasa is now over, adding they can now enjoy the services which have been brought closer to their door steps.

He thanked the government and the company for the insight which will now encourage them more to work hard in their farms.

The Fijian Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, aims to revilitalise the rice industry in its efforts to meet the local demand and also a self-sufficient and sustainable industry.

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