December 31, 2020
Picture : Minister for Agriculture Waterways and Environment Hon Dr Mahendra Reddy announcing the rice rehab program to farmers in Luvuluvu settlement in Bua.
A rehabilitation program for the rice farmers launched on Tuesday (29.12.20) will focus mainly for rice production throughout the Northern Division. The initiative was formulated to elevate the rice industry in the Northern Division after the tropical cyclone Yasa.
While speaking to the farmers in Bua, the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy said the rehabilitation program is aimed at getting rice production underway immediately post TC Yasa as part of Ministry’s rehab efforts.
This rice rehabilitation program will mainly include land preparation work for rice farming and will be active for 10 weeks.
“Under this program, farmers will only have to pay a subsidized rate of $15 for one hour. Through contracted machinery owners and operators, the Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with Fiji Rice Limited, will fund remainder of the cost,” said Minister Dr. Reddy.
Minister Dr. Reddy further reiterated that rehabilitation is being done considering the damages the rice industry suffered.
“We understand that most of the rice farms here in the North have sustained damages or been destroyed by the TC Yasa, but we don’t want you to wait or have any excuse, as under this programs we are engaging local tractor owners to work for the government and assist in land preparation,” he said
Minister Dr. Reddy added that all required land preparation work will be outsourced to local tractor owners throughout Vanua Levu who will be willing to work jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and their remainder cost will be accommodated upon the work completion.
Minister Dr. Reddy thanked Chair of Fiji Rice Ltd, Mr. Sharma for his quick response and financial support to make to get this project of the ground.
He further added that farmers who lost all their rice seeds during the cyclone will be able to get new stock of required rice seeds from the Ministry of Agriculture by contacting their locality staff.