December 4, 2020
Picture : Retired civil servant Mr Seruvi Cawi receives his kasa from the Minister for Agriculture Waterways and Environment Hon Dr Mahendra Reddy.
The Ministry of Agriculture is setting the foundation to increase yaqona production in the highlands of Ba so that farmers in the area can eventually be ready to export the commodity.
The plans for Magadro, Ba was revealed to farmers at the handover of 2,000 yaqona seedlings at Bukuya Village by Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy on Wednesday (2.12.20).
“When one talks of Yaqona, the areas that are well known for it are Taveuni, Kadavu, Cakaudrove and Macuata.
“But when one mentioned Ra, or Ba, basically root crops for the local market is what they associate these areas with,” he said.
The Minister urged the farmers of Magodro to prepare their land and be ready to increase their yaqona production so as to also tap into the export earnings currently enjoyed by Taveuni, Kadavu, Cakaudrove, and Macuata.
“We want to establish kava nurseries here. We will provide the seedlings, at no cost to you. “We want you to be ready, you need to think big and we will support you. But we can’t do it on the ground because you are the ones who have the resources, you are the people who will be doing the work,” he said.
In addition, the Minister revealed that on 18th December the Highlands Agriculture Show would be held at Navatusila targeting rural farmers where the Hon. Prime Minister would be the chief guest.
The Hon. Dr Reddy said the yaqona market was growing significantly externally and Government wanted to ensure that the benefits was spread equally in Fiji along the entire supply chain and not only to certain areas only.
20 yaqona farmers from Tabalei, Tabuquto, Bila, and Bukuya were provided 100 yaqona seedlings each.
A recipient of the Yaqona seedlings assistance, Mr Alivereti Malasebe, 34, of Bila Settlement, Tabuquto said in itaukei he was grateful for the assistance because it was difficult in sourcing ‘kasa’.
He said the assistance would motivate them to work hard.
He said even though government assistance was available, it was the first time he had received it for himself.
Another recipient, Mr Seruvi Cawi, 61, who is a retired civil servant and also the Magodro Methodist Church Steward in itaukei said he believed God had blessed the vanua o Magodro because the assistance came just before Christmas and also arrived at the perfect time for planting with the right weather conditions.
He said he was excited to hear of the plans that the Minister had in place for Magodro and looked forward to receiving more yaqona seedlings as promised by the Minister today.
Young and new yaqona farmers, Mr Aporosa Miramira, 19, and Mr Lepani Bose, 26, both of Tabuquto, Magodro also expressed their gratitude to the Minister for the timely assistance that would add to the number of plants already in the ground.