June 18, 2021
Picture: Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy cuts the cake in commemoration of the International Desertification and Drought Day.
Investing in healthy land is a smart economic decision that drives action to protect and restore the natural ecosystem, which is the goal of the 2021 Desertification and Drought Day, says Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy.
He made the comment while commemorating ‘Desertification and Drought Day 2021’ at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Raiwaqa today.
Minister Reddy explained the activities the Ministry of Agriculture was undertaking to restore degraded land.
“The Ministry through its Sustainable Land Management activities, focuses on addressing land degradation for rural villages and settlements, ensure that changes in land use have limited effect on the extinction of native species and Green House Gas Emission.”
Minister Reddy said the Ministry also focused on other challenges such as; ongoing local land competition where agriculture prime land was used for other purposes, forcing farmers to move to marginal land which led to increased unsustainable and intensive land practices.
“With a commitment to restore and recover land, the Ministry continues to improve Research and Development on Soil health and promote the use of Mucuna bean, vetiver system technology, Agroforestry farming and evaluation of resistant crop and vegetable varieties.
“Enhanced technical advisory services on good land and animal husbandry practices that strengthen Land-Based restoration,” Dr Reddy explained.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture would continue to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration that would provide entrepreneurial youths working in ecosystem restoration with tools that would enable them to succeed.
“Through this program, the Ministry supports the Navuso Agriculture Technical Institute on training to become good land users. Engage with relevant Ministries, NGOs and private partners in enforcing restoration of degraded land in Fiji.”
Hon. Reddy said the Ministry was also part of the National Ridge to Reef project, working closely with the Ministry of Forestry, the Pacific Community (SPC), and Conservation International in creating awareness, establishing demonstration plots, orchard planting and identifying degraded land for restoration to six target catchment areas – Waidina/Rewa, Ba, Tuva in Viti Levu and Tunuloa, Labasa catchment in Vanua Levu.