NATION

Move Away From Unsustainable Land Use Practices: Pillay

‘17 per cent of land in Fiji has lost its value’   Assistant Minister for Agriculture Viam Pillay has urged farmers, policy makers and consumers alike to move away from
20 Jun 2018 10:00
Move Away From Unsustainable Land Use Practices: Pillay
Staff of the Ministry of Agriculture at Qelewaqa on June 18, 2018. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka

‘17 per cent of land in Fiji has lost its value’

 

Assistant Minister for Agriculture Viam Pillay has urged farmers, policy makers and consumers alike to move away from unsustainable land use practices.

Mr Pillay was speaking during the World Day to Combat Desertification at Qelewaqa in Labasa on Monday.

He warned that the value of land was shrinking and under threat and therefore, needed remedial measures to be implemented before it was too late.

As it stands, he said about 17 per cent of land in Fiji had lost its value because of soil degradation, human choices and overuse of chemicals.

While Fiji has approximately 13 per cent of arable land, the Ministry of Agriculture has warned that the value of land was shrinking and was under threat.

Mr Pillay said the chemical properties of soil which enabled it to be of great use for farming was declining.

To combat this, he said: “By turning land degradation into land restoration, we can restore the land´s full potential.

“Healthy and productive land can bring not only environmental, but also significant economic gains.

“Let us work together to transform the way we consume, produce, work, and live together without compromising our current or future social, economic or environmental security, without compromising the land on which it all depends,” he said.

“Let me remind you that every one of us has a role to play. Farmers can invest in smart agriculture that leads to higher yields despite a reduction in inputs like pesticides.

“Policy makers and land managers can support bio-economy by investing in new Sustainable Land Management technologies and processes.

“Consumers can spend their money on organic products to avoid land degradation.

“There are many more ways to invest in land directly and indirectly.

“We can all contribute to and benefit from investing in Sustainable Land Management – whether we act as consumers, producers, corporations, or governments.

“Changes in behaviour and adoption of more efficient planning and practices can guarantee that sufficient land resources are available long-term to meet our demands. Let me conclude by reiterating that the choice is ours. Know the true value of land and invest in it,” he said.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj



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