COVID-19 | SUNBIZ

COVID-19: Budget Draws Praise, Fiji Rice Gives Help

In order to maintain food security, Fiji Rice Limited allocated 20 tonnes of rice seedlings for Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).
30 Mar 2020 13:54
COVID-19: Budget Draws Praise, Fiji Rice Gives Help
Pre-packed bags of Fiji Rice.

Raj Sharma, chairman for Fiji Rice Limited, Copra Millers Fiji Limited and Food Processors Fiji Limited thanked the Minister for Economy and the Government for the supplementary budget and meeting priority needs of those affected.

He was speaking on behalf of Fiji Rice Limited, Food Processors Fiji Limited and Copra Mills Fiji Limited, “It is very timely and matter of urgency.

“We highly appreciate the debt to equity conversion for Food Processors Fiji Limited and Fiji Rice Limited.”

Fiji Rice Limited

In order to maintain food security, Fiji Rice Limited allocated 20 tonnes of rice seedlings for Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

Company chairperson Raj Sharma said it was to help MOA assist farmers in Fiji.

“We are encouraging not only farmers but also those who have idle land to plant rice for food security,” Mr Sharma said.

Raj Sharma, Chairman for Fiji Rice Limited, Copra Millers of Fiji Limited and Food Processors Fiji Limited.

Raj Sharma, Chairman for Fiji Rice Limited, Copra Millers of Fiji Limited and Food Processors Fiji Limited.

“It is better to be prepared because we don’t know what will happen during coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said MOA had collected 13 tonnes of rice seedlings from Dreketi, Macuata.

“After collection it is entirely up to them to do drying and distribution,” he said.

“We will gradually increase should there be a request as we are supporting MOA’s initiative for the benefit of all Fijians.

“This 20 tonnes is equal to almost 600 acres because one acre takes 30 kilogram.

“This means minimum one tonne per acre.

“Which equates to almost $450,000 in dollar value to the farmer.”

He said every farmer needed to wisely use the feed to plant rice and adhere to the advice given by MOA.

“Those farmers who do not require rice more than their consumption, we will be quite happy to buy from them,” he said.

“This is the time where everyone needs to focus on food security.

“As for the COVID-19 response budget we highly appreciate the debt to equity conversion for Fiji Rice Limited by the Government. That equity has opened a window for us to use money in rice planting scheme,” he said.

“We will invest $1million of our own funds in massive rice production.

“Also looking at providing loans to rice farmers and companies those who intend to go into commercial rice farming.”

Food Processors Fiji Limited

Food Processors Fiji Limired continues working as normal as it expects to export its normal consignment through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is expecting to send out its shipment for March and April to United States as on schedule.

The company will export dalo and palusami in few days.

Next month, the company will export daruka,” Mr Sharma said.

“We are banking on that to not cut down our operations, he said adding they had no immediate plans to lay off workers.

“The buidget has helped us keep our jobs and stand together as a united workforce during this difficult time,” he said.

“The company with debt to equity conversion will immediately inject investment of $150,000 to its Batiri farm in Macuata Province with plants, machines and upgrade of the buildings.”

He said at Batiri farm, they sourced okra, bongo chilis, and watermelon.

They are planting pulses such as urdi so that in time to come they will be in a better position to supply to the local market.

He said the company was looking at a further investment of $1million this year for the purchase of plants and machines, and, factory upgrade at Vatuwaqa.

“At the same time, we have to keep our eye on food security.”

Feedback: shratika.naidu@fijisun.com.fj

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