NATION

Agriculture Minister Encourages Responsibility in Development

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu is requesting people to take responsibility in order to help fight desertification. Desertification is the process by
18 Jun 2016 11:35
Agriculture Minister Encourages Responsibility in Development
Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu planting eggplant during the World Day to Combat Desertification at Labasa School for Special Education in Labasa yesterday. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu is requesting people to take responsibility in order to help fight desertification.

Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture.

Speaking at the World Day to Combat Desertification yesterday, the Minister brought his message to stakeholders, teachers and students gathered at Labasa School for Special Education.

“Development is good but it comes with responsibility and there is a price to pay as well when we are irresponsible. There is risk in development but like any other risk, it can be reduced, transferred, mitigated and managed. People need to take ownership.

“We are enjoying the peaceful environment today, but some comprise it,” Mr Seruiratu said. “Money is not everything.”

He said that when people are urged to comprise to accommodate the need for the economic benefits, they are actually comprising the future.

“I know the irresponsible absence as a result of development here in Vanua Levu,” he said.

In an example, he mentioned there was an investigation into flooding in Vanua Levu, which had affected a number of villages. The result of the flooding was illegal logging, despite the existence of the Fiji Code of Logging.

“Nobody cares. When we do not do that it comes with a price,” he said “Economic benefits are driving people crazy today.

“We need money, but it is not everything. We all have a responsibility. We are here for the importance of sustainable development.

“We are here for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) with local responsibility.

“Desertification is simply when the soil loses its quality for the worse,” he explained. “When I was the Commissioner Northern, the dalo rejection at Taveuni Island was 15 per cent. “And now its dalo rejection is 45 to 50 per cent because of desertification.

“So please take responsibility.

“Let us preach this at home to our family, communities and the people we meet that we need to act responsible,” he pleaded.

 

Seruiratu’s plan to combat labour shortage

Mr Seruiratu has revealed that after the announcement of the 2016-2017 Budget, the Ministry of Agriculture will launch an initiative.

The Minister hopes to bring in more youths and women into the agricultural sector.

“Labour shortage is a huge concern and challenge for us. It is not only in Fiji, but all over the world.

“It is because of the economy opportunities where people have opted for other sectors.

“During my visit to the irrigated areas in Dreketi, Macuata province on Thursday, I have seen many aged farmers above the age of 40.

“We are bringing in machinery to ease labour shortage problems. We need to encourage more young farmers to take over the role

“However, we have seen the need to have some replacement farmers’ policy and incentives in place.

“It is our plan that after the announcement of the budget we will launch agriculture initiatives for youths in agriculture and women in agriculture as well.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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