The need to plant resilient crops such as yams for food and income security has been reiterated to farmers in the province of Cakaudrove.
During the recent Yam Show held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Wainigata Research Station, farmers were reminded about the importance of yams when it comes to climate change adaptation and food security. Yams are resilient to droughts, pests and diseases, could be stored for longer period of time and lessen the burden of food shortage during natural disasters.
Speaking at the Yam Show, Provincial Administrator Macuata, Semi Kuru said yams were grown in Fiji due to its importance to our diet, livelihood for farmers and more importantly brought valuable foreign exchange to Fiji’s economy.
“This show is expected to create a lot of interest in yam farming and encourage our youths, women, and families to grow more yams,” Kuru said.
“Yams are one of the most important sources of protein supply, much greater than the more widely grown cassava.”
Meanwhile, Ministry of Agriculture Director Research Dr. Apaitia Macanawai informed farmers that yam export quantity had increased exponentially from 8.3 tonnes in 2013 to 40.1 tonnes in 2015.
“This is a clear indication that there is a market for yams overseas and demand for Fiji yams is increasing,” Dr Macanawai said.
He said identifying best yam varieties for export is vital in increasing the production of the commodity in Fiji.
Ministry of Agriculture in its effort to promote yam cultivation in Fiji had developed and rolled out Agricultural Research Services, a root crops program that specifically focuses on research and dissemination of planting materials.
The theme for the celebrations was “Promoting yam cultivation for resilience and food security”.