Island News

Rice trial for Rabi Island

Written By : Sun Fiji Newsroom. A group of Agriculture Officials from Bua and Dreketi will be in Rabi next week to explore the potential of growing rice on the
30 Aug 2008 12:00

image Written By : Sun Fiji Newsroom. A group of Agriculture Officials from Bua and Dreketi will be in Rabi next week to explore the potential of growing rice on the island.
Led by Agriculture Officer Dreketi Jone Matawalu the team will be assisted by island based officer Mara Kapaiwai and will put up a demo plot on the island to gauge its potential.
According to Matawalu the decision to cultivate rice on the island was the result of a request from the island for a trial to be conducted on the island.
“Rice is the main staple of the people on Rabi and if they are able to grow their own rice it would be of great value to them,” said Matawalu.
Rabi, off the cost of Tukavesi has great potential with some of the flats on the island capable of supporting the growth of rice.
Matawalu said that the interest by the islanders has been there for some times now and the Rabi Island Council sent a group of potential rice farmers to Dreketi to learn the basic techniques of rice cultivation three years ago.
“When there is interest amongst the islanders for the cultivation of this crop, I feel that our work will be easier and productive while on the island.’
Matawalu further explained that because of the lack of irrigation structures on the island the technology used on rain fed areas will be explored.
While Rabi has potential flats for rice cultivation, Matawalu revealed that the flatland near Tabiang Village has been identified as the best to carry out the trials.
“A water source has been identified and because of its close proximity to the flatland, the water from the spring will be harnessed to provide the much needed water for the rice field,” he said.
Praising the interest of the islanders, Matawalu said that rice with its quick maturity period is a first-rate cash crop and if pursued with dynamism will have a high return for the islanders.
‘The cultivation of rice too on the island will ensure food security that can be a problem in the future due the rising food prices and the difficulty of islanders in accessing the urban centre on mainland Cakaudrove.”
The team will also conduct training for budding farmers while on Rabi. This is in line with the Ministry’s objective which is to revitalize the rice farming in Fiji in a bid to reduce imports.
The country last year imported 32,000 metric tonnes of rice annually valued at $20 million.



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