February 18, 2021

Picture : ADRA Country-Director  Hon  Reddy with the DOI.

Farmers nationwide are earmarked to receive financial assistance to help them "build back better" in the coming months.

This after a Declaration of Intent was signed today between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to facilitate the implementation of the 'Cash for Cultivation' initiative.

The objective of this initiative, is to provide cash assistance to vulnerable farmers affected by TC Yasa/Ana for the purposes of land clearance, land preparation and planting material to re-establish a 1-acre plot.

Minister for Agriculture Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy said this initiative was being implemented to ensure the agriculture sector was rehabilitated as soon as possible. 

"The Ministry of Agriculture, with funding support from development partners, in particular, ADRA, intend to allocate $200 per farmer to cover the costs of land clearance, preparation and planting of a 1-acre plot of land. 

ADRA Country Director Mr. Iliapi Tuwai expressed his thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture for partnering with ADRA stating; "it's an honor for us to once again partner with the Ministry to launch this exciting project which we have been discussing for quite some time and now it is time to roll it out so that the farmers who are here and around Fiji will be supported by some of the money that we have collected so that it can be useful to you farmers."

Through the 'Cash for Cultivation' initiative, farmers will be eligible to receive payment which will be made in two tranches, with $75 as an up-front payment, and $125 on providing evidence of land clearance, preparation and cultivation.

As with such development cooperation programmes, there will be extensive monitoring to ensure the second tranche is used for its intended purpose.

All farmers will be eligible to participate in this program and each household must identify agriculture as its main source of livelihood.  

Cash for Cultivation will prioritize vulnerable households such as female headed households and families with disabilities.

Eligible farmers will be registered using an electronic form, advice on the terms and conditions for the cash transfer and issued with the first tranche of $75. 

The Ministry of Agriculture Extension officers and development partner representatives, such as ADRA staff in partnership with community leaders will ensure smooth implementation of this process. Farmers will be required to sign an undertaking that they will ensure cultivation and production.

The team will revisit communities to verify that the cash was used for its intended purpose and recommend for payment of second tranche. Further monitoring will be conducted by MoA and ADRA to measure the impact of the programme.

ADRA, through funding from New Zealand and European Union can initially reach over 1,000 farming households and contribute to more than 1,000 acres of cleared, prepared and planted land. 

The program will focus on TC Yasa/Ana affected communities in the Northern, Central and Western Divisions. MoA will continue to seek additional funding and implementing partners to scale up the programme to reach more affected farmers.

The crops eligible for this program are any vegetables and root crops.