Naitasiri farmers praise Ministry’s Operation Westcross 2

June 25, 2021

Picture: Ministry staff facilitating the farmers at the Sawani border.

More than 17 tonnes of Agro inputs worth around $24,000 was supplied to Naitasiri farmers yet again through ‘Operation Westcross 2’ in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and its partner South Pacific Fertilizers earlier this week (21.6.21).

Following a successful ‘Operation Westcross’ that had took place earlier this month, the Ministry again facilitated logistical support to transport agro inputs for farmers in Naitasiri.

Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Mr Ritesh Dass said the successful collaboration between the supplier – South Pacific Fertiliser, the Ministry, and farmers ensured a smooth transition of the agro-inputs from Lautoka to the Sawani, Naitasiri border on Monday (21.6.21).

“This exercise is the third of its kind that the Ministry facilitated on behalf of farmers since the lockdown occurred. You may remember, that we had carried out the first agro-inputs at the Logani, Tailevu border for farmers in Tailevu North.

“Facilitating the requests of farmers during these difficult COVID-19 restrictions demonstrates the Ministry’s current modus operandi of ‘Grow Beyond’ in other words, we have modernized the way we operate so if it means going beyond our usual service delivery; then so be it.

“We recognize the vital contributions our farmers and exporters continue to do for the Fijian economy and the Ministry stands ready to assist in any way we can to ease the burden of COVID restrictions off them,” Mr Dass said.

Such an operation requires a lot of planning and team work. Apart from this it required redeployment and prioritization of resources out of the Ministry’s normal operations.

Muaniweni Settlement District Advisory Councilor, Mr Maan Borick, 69, said he tried to help his farmers who needed fertilisers by contacting the Agriculture locality officers and was grateful when this assistance arrived.

“I am thankful to Government and Agriculture for helping farmers. It is not enough fertilisers but we’re told we might be getting more sometime next week.

“Because of COVID I am grateful that Government is trying to help us,” Mr Borick said.

Pundit Janoop Sharma, 50, of Muaniweni who plants dalo and kumala said for some time they were not able to receive fertilisers and pesticides.

“But we are thankful to the Government of the day and the fertilizer supplier from Lautoka. Most probably our crops will be laughing and we’re thankful,” he said.

Pundit added it was encouraging to see Government focusing on agriculture and urged youths to utilize the available land around them to keep them healthy and ensure a bright future.

Mr Benny Sami, 64, of Muaniweni echoed similar sentiments of gratitude for the assistance provided by the Ministry.

“I would like to thank the Ministry for supporting us and arranging the manure for us. The fertilizer I bought will be helpful for my crops. I bought six bags of Urea for my dalo farm,” Mr Sami said.

The agro-inputs that were supplied were 50kg of NPK, Blend C, Urea, 20kg of Hydrocomplex, 5litres of Glyphosate and Gluphosinate worth a total of $24,238.47.