Transitioning to large scale farming from smallholder livestock farming will undoubtedly contribute towards achieving the sector’s potential.
This was relayed by Minister for Agriculture , Dr. Mahendra Reddy while handing over fencing material packages to 9 selected smallholder livestock farmers of Tavua yesterday, whereby he emphasized their contributions could effectively reduce the importation bill of livestock products and improve the local sector’s performance.
“As you may have heard, we are actively pursuing the transitioning of smallholder agriculture into medium and large commercial farmers and we are assisting farmers once, particularly livestock to move towards commercial levels, livestock includes beef, dairy and sheep,” he said.
“These are the widely consumed meat based products locally, for beef, we’re actually importing 40%, for dairy, 85% is being imported whereas for sheep, 99% of lamb meat is being imported from New Zealand.
“And I think for all three, we have the capacity to raise here, if not we can produce 100% consumption to be met here and it is important that if we have an advantage on any commodity, we should exploit that advantage,” said Hon. Reddy.
The fencing material assistance is anticipated to assist these smallholder farmers develop towards medium and large scale livestock farmers to develop their paddocks.
Grant recipient, Khairul Bibi of Tavua said the assistance would greatly assist in the maintenance of her stock.
“I am grateful for this assistance as this will enable me to improve and extend the fencing of my stock, prevent them from going astray or getting stolen, and I am looking forward to expanding my herd because this is our main livelihood,” he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture provided assistance packages of 8 coiled goat fence (4ft x 50 m), 19 Pine posts (1.8m x 100mm) and 3kg U-nails to each farmer to incentivize small holder farmers to expand livestock farms into commercial farm by ensuring they developed suitable paddocks for the growth of their herds.
The assistance, through a grant of $140,000 received by the Ministry of Agriculture, is earmarked for 134 farmers around Fiji, with 84 recipients from both the Western and Northern Divisions already having received similar assistance packages recently.