SUNBIZ

Cane farmers can help reduce rice imports: Waibuta

Western Division sugarcane farmers can assist Government reduce rice imports by using one acre of their land for rice farming: senior official said. Deputy Secretary for Agriculture, Uraia Waibuta said
28 Aug 2017 09:46
Cane farmers can help reduce rice imports: Waibuta
Deputy Secretary for Agriculture, Uraia Waibuta.

Western Division sugarcane farmers can assist Government reduce rice imports by using one acre of their land for rice farming: senior official said.

Deputy Secretary for Agriculture, Uraia Waibuta said as most farmers in the area were more focused on sugarcane farming

While speaking at the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry/ HFC business forum at Tanoa Skylodge Hotel on Saturday.

“Farmers in the West can plant an acre each so that we can self-sufficient tomorrow. This is something we need to do, we need to get our message across to farmers to work together to reduce our imports, at least one acre along the sugarcane belts.”

He added that it would reduce Fiji’s import on rice by 15 per cent.

He also said importing some basic vegetables and produce, Mr Waibuta said was one of the challenges they currently faced.

Adding, that food security was a going problem in which the Agriculture Ministry is trying its best to combat.

Mr Waibuta said they aimed to reduce rice import by 8000 tonnes.

“We need 60,000 tonnes in order to feed out people,” he said.

Mr Waibuta also said that the demand of dairy products in Fiji had increased over the years.

Adding, that farmers in the West could assist Government in meeting this demand.

“We are encouraging farmers in the West to resort to dairy farming. The demand on beef, pork and lamb has is also increasing,” he said.

Mr Waibuta said they would work on encouraging in the private sector to invest in the agriculture sector despite the high risks because the benefits would be attractive for them.

Meanwhile, he said that dalo farming had grown substantively over the years but the problem sometimes was it could get rejected from overseas because it didn’t meet the required quarantine standards.

Dalo, he added was one of the lucrative product not only in the region but the world as well.

“Dalo is the number one crop now around the world and people are going for it, a lot of people who love our dalo, the prices are increasing and so as the demands from around the world,” Mr Waibuta said.

In the Western Division, he added that few farmers in Sigatoka and Nadi had resorted to dalo as their basic produce apart from tomatoes and lettuce.

With the changes within Fiji’s agriculture sector, Mr Waibuta said it was important that they started modernising the structure.

 

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj



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