Accessing water for agricultural purposes during a drought will be a thing of the past for a group of farmers in the Western division.
This follows the handing over of water tanks to nine farmers in the western division by the Ministry of Waterways to assist with their farming activities.
While officiating at the event, Minister for Waterways, Environment and Agriculture Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy said farmers will be able to produce more and increase farm productivity as these water tanks provide a means of provision for water through sustainable irrigation systems for use during dry seasons.
Minister Reddy added that these would help farmers to prepare them to meet demands for local markets as well as for export soon after borders reopen. He said that all farmers around the country will be supported through the Ministry of Waterways to combat the drought period highlighting that land size should not limit farm production with farmers intensifying their activities.
“The Ministry of Waterways through the Irrigation Support for Farm Development Programme aims to provide supplement irrigation to farmers that will help them to improve the productivity of niche market crops,” Minister Reddy said. Dr. Reddy further reiterated that farmers should make use of this government initiative to improve their livelihood and reduce the vulnerability and risk of crop damage during droughts and prolonged dry periods.
The Ministry of Waterways has assisted a total of nine farmers from Tavua, Nadi and Sigatoka with a 5300 liters water tank and aims to assist more farmers in the coming days. Kaliova Ravuovou a 55 year old vegetable farmer Kabisi village in Sigatoka thanked the Ministry of Waterways for assisting them with water tanks.
He said that accessing water during the drought has been an obstacle to them as farm production decreased rapidly. “During the drought we used to cart water from the river either by horse or sometimes we cart water to the the farms ourselves.
But now with this water tank, we will be able to store water and use this in our farms during a drought. “Our yields are badly affected during this dry period which also affects our household income as we heavily rely on farming as a source of income for our family,” he said.