January 21, 2021
Picture : Minister Reddy and Assistant Minister Viam Pillay with ADRA Country Director Iliapi Tuwai with recipients of the water tanks in Nailaga Ba.
Ten farmers from parts of the Western Division each received a 5,300litre water tank valued at $1,200 from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) as part of the Vakarau Wai-Fiji Pro Resilience Project today.
For Nadi vegetable farmer, Mr. Sosiceni Manulevu, 54, who began farming just over a year ago on his 20 acres land said the assistance was a timely one because he has experienced the challenges faced by farmers in the Western Division, particularly with regards to access to water and ample irrigation for his farm.
He said that due to the geographical location of his farm being far from a reliable source of water, he had faced difficulties in his farming operations, but through the intervention of ADRA in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, his best days in farming were ahead of him.
“Actions speak louder than words and I am very grateful to ADRA and the Ministry of Agriculture for thinking of us, the farmers, by assisting us with the water tanks because to farm, it requires water, we are fortunate that it is raining in the West but when there is no rain, that’s when we face difficulty in growing our crops,” said Mr. Manulevu.
ADRA Country Director Iliapi Tuwai said the European Union funded project, which has been implemented for the past three years in Ba and Macuata was aimed at improving the resilience and adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities and subsistence farmers in drought-prone areas to reduce food and nutrition insecurity.
“I’m glad that we are a part of this support for our farmers because this is where the economy of the country comes from and I acknowledge the support of the farmers who are part of the project because they’ve made our work known to others, making our work sustainable and ensuring that we can actually stand up and have our work be felt by them for a long time,” said Mr. Tuwai.
“Throughout the last three years of the project implementation, the results of our work has benefited the farmers who have recuperated and at the same time are now selling their produce and I am really glad that is working through ADRA’s work in the West too because we are touching the lives of the farmers and the individuals who are really struggling out there,” Mr. Tuwai added.
Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy acknowledged the work done by development partners such as ADRA who have worked behind the scenes to improve the lives of ordinary Fijians.
“I thank ADRA and our development partners for the work that they do and for providing their services to assist our farmers and for the renewed consideration they place on elevating the lives of our fellow citizens.
“ADRA has contributed significantly to our agriculture growth for a long time now, they’ve worked silently and behind the scenes and have met and continued to work with farmers from the rural and maritime areas,” said Minister Reddy.
Minister Reddy acknowledged such partnerships as being integral to the expansion of the agriculture sector within these past two years, as the volume in exports for 2020 as compared to 2019 increased by 15 per cent, stressing this volume increase as a substantial achievement in the sector.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and ADRA will work together to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to streamline the two institution’s agricultural development agenda.