A nursery that has the capacity to house 360,000 seedlings from an initial investment of about $70,000 was opened by the Hon. Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy in
Sabeto last Friday (14.8.20).
“Today (14.8.20) is another milestone achievement for the Sabeto farmer cluster in terms of establishing one of the largest nursery in this country.
“There is about 70,000 bongo chillies here. These farmers who will be taking these seedlings to grow on their farms, are contracted with Agro Marketing Authority,” he said.
In commending the initiative, Dr Reddy said Government was strongly encouraging farmers to move towards becoming an agricultural entrepreneur.
“Put your entire intellect, entire resource, entire energy, on growing quality produce and making it ready for the market to be picked up. That’s the model we are promoting,” he said.
The Hon. Minister said in order for the agriculture sector to grow in Fiji, there was a need to grow the market.
“We want to bring market signal to the farmer, as we have done here with Agro Marketing Authority
and also other exporters around the country, who are providing market signals to the farmer.”
Dr Reddy explained Government would continue to support the three commercial models of agriculture,
which included all categories of farmers, whether they were large, medium, or small.
He said the first model was the business-minded entrepreneur who set themselves up on their own,
farm and then export their commodities. The second model, the Hon. Minister said, were those that
established processing plants and contracted farmers to supply to them; these businesses process and
then export. The third type, he said, were cluster farmers, such as the Sabeto initiative, where farmers
focused on commercial farming on the same crops; learn from each other, were provided machinery to
use in that cluster, trained in correct farming practices and methods to ensure they produced quality
commodities for export via the Agriculture Marketing Authority.
He applauded the two men who made the nursery initiative a reality – Mr Liakat Ali and Mr Vinesh Rai,
the Advisory Councillor of the area.
“We will need more Liakat Alis’ and Vinesh Rais’ in Fiji and if we get a dozen like them, the aspirations of
our agriculture sector will be fully realized”.
Mr Rai said 117 farmers formed the Sabeto cluster but the number would continue to grow.
“We’re proud of what has been achieved so far. After three months of hard work, without any money,
without any support – this is a big achievement for us, our farmers, all of Sabeto, and all other farmers
who will soon join us,” he said.