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Agriculture Ministry Refutes Report Criticising Nakorovou Rice Project

Agriculture Ministry Refutes Report Criticising Nakorovou Rice Project
Ra Roadshow
April 25
08:41 2016

The Ministry of Agriculture has come out strongly against claims that a $68,000 rice project in the village of Natokalau in the district of Kubulau in Bua was wasted as published on Page 4 of the Fiji Times on April 14.

Ministry’s acting director extension Jone Sovalawa said the rice project was at the village of Nakorovou and not Natokalau as stated in the article.

“The project was valued at $32,020 which included drainage construction and agro-inputs and not $68,000 as stated in the article,” Mr Sovalawa said.

Senior agriculture officer Bua, Ilisoni Banuve said the complainant in the Fiji Times article namely Setefano Tubalevu was not involved at any stage in the project.

Mr Sovalawa said that the demonstration farm of a quarter acre involved the training on all rice husbandry practices and its management with the objective for farmers in the village to have a thorough knowledge on rice farming and take ownership and continue with rice farming.

Mr Sovalawa said the first harvest done in 2015 with some 30 bags which the farmers had agreed to use for home consumption.

However the farmers could not afford to pay for the milling cost and they consented for the harvest to be stored by the Ministry of Agriculture’s station in Dama which was to be later processed or milled once the ministry’s sponsored mill was established, he said.

“The mill is ready and the rice paddy is still in the drying process and it is anticipated that the rice mill be milled in the coming week,” he said.

The ministry had also provided a Power Tiller (Grasshopper) which was to ensure the continuation of the project.

However, this did not eventuate as they continue to rely on our Officers and the machines were returned to the Nabouwalu agriculture station.

The ministry extension officers in Bua continued to provide advice on the many other options available to develop the piece of land such as planting dalo, duruka and vegetables.

It must be noted that rice farming is new to that area of Bua and it will take some time and even more effort to actually convince the farmers to continue with rice farming.

 

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