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Step Up For Farmers

Step Up For Farmers
Northern Development Programme officer Manasa Vakacere. Photo: Maraia Vula
April 05
10:14 2015

The living standards of farmers who have been assisted by the Northern Development Programme in Vanua Levu have improved.

NDP officer Manasa Vakacere said they served  the whole of Vanua Levu and they had seen changes to living standards of farmers.

“We are serving the whole of Vanua Levu which is the three provinces of Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata,” Mr Vakacere said.

“From 2008 until now there have been quite a good number of people who we have assisted through this programme. Most of the people are successful in most of the projects that they are doing.”

“We have seen their living standards have improved a lot for those who have been assisted by NDP.”

He noted that almost 90 per cent of the projects that they assisted were successful now.

This year the Government has allocated $1.5 million for this programme.

“We are not limiting the numbers, applicants come to us and then we assess them on a case by case basis and those who qualify will get the grant.

“We are covering the agricultural sector, tourism, manufacturing, fisheries, forestry those are some of the major sectors that we are giving assistance too all over Vanua Levu.

“Transportation is not a problem for us to assist people; we travel to Kia Island, Yadua Island, Yanuca Island, Taveuni Island, Qamea and all throughout Vanua Levu.

He highlighted that the challenge for those who want to focus on the agriculture sector was the lease.

“Most people are willing to get into the agriculture sector, but the problem is the lease. Without it we cannot give the assistance because we are working with the Fiji Development Bank.

“At the end of the day, the bank needs some kind of security. With us, there are three categories; the Micro Category with the maximum amount for us to give is $2500, then the Small Category with maximum amount we can give is $10,000 and then the Medium Category which is $25,000 grant.

“In terms marketing their products in most cases they have to look for their own market but if they need assistance we are available and we can make arrangements.”




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