November 8, 2020
Picture : Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy speaks to farmers at Nanoko Village, Navatusila in the Nadroga/Navosa Province last Thursday (5.11.20). Seated next to him (facing camera on the right) is Fiji Agromarketing Authority CEO, Mr Alvin Sharma
Farmers in rural villages and settlements have been urged to grow rice for personal consumption and establish compost pits to provide organic manure for their farms.
This was the message by Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy during his recent visit to the West last week.
The Minister also made a commitment to farmers that the Ministry of Agriculture would assist farmers in these initiatives.
“We want every village to have their own rice field. We will provide rice seeds to villages.
“What villages needed to do is identify between five to ten acres of land that will be set aside for rice production. Clear the land and prepare it ready for planting.
“In three months’ time after planting, the rice is ready for harvesting,” he said.
He said the Ministry would assist with planting materials and machinery as well to help with harvesting.
Further, he said the rice was meant for personal consumption so villagers would no longer buy rice from the supermarket.
The Hon. Dr Reddy also encouraged villages and settlements to develop communal compost pits to produce organic fertilizer for their farms.
“Instead of using chemical fertilizers, we are strongly promoting using organic fertilizer which is cheaper, safer and better choice for not only the soil but also for those that will consume your produce.
“What you need to do is, dig say, three compost pits for the village, and dump all your organic waste in there including food rubbish.
“We will provide the Lactic Acid Bacterium and possibly poultry manure too, and you mix it all together and you have your very own organic manure,” he said.
The Minister said the Ministry would provide the training to the villages on how to develop compost pits.
The Hon. Dr Reddy began his three-day visit with farmers of Navilawa Village, Sabeto; Drasa Johnson Farmer’s Cluster, in Lautoka; Nanoko Village, Navatusila; Vatia Farmers Cluster in Tavua; and Nandhari Farmers Cluster in Ba; before concluding his visit to the West on Friday (6.11.20)