Nemani Delaibatiki: Reddy One Of PM’s Hardest Working Cabinet Ministers

In his first 12 months in office after his appointment, he has performed incredibly well. The minister is changing the mindset of people to help grow the country from the rural and maritime zones.
15 Nov 2019 14:34
Nemani Delaibatiki: Reddy One Of PM’s Hardest Working Cabinet Ministers
Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment, Mahendra Reddy, with farmers from Caboni and Viti Vanua in Tavua, on November 5, 2019. Photo: DEPTFO News

Mahendra Reddy was yesterday in a rural area of Taveuni doing what he does best.

The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment was connecting with people and attending to their needs in terms of economic empowerment.

Mr Reddy’s mission has been to provide the support people require to have a decent standard of living.

He is one of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s hardest working Cabinet ministers.

Since his success in the 2018 General Election and his assignment to multiple portfolios, Mr Reddy has hardly taken leave.

He has been on the road visiting areas which need:

  • their rivers dredged to eliminate flooding risks and damage. Desilting of rivers and streams is a big part of this.
  •  riverbanks reinforced to prevent erosion in a flood protection programme
  • foot crossings to facilitate  movement and increase accessibility in swampy areas or rugged unforgiving terrain
  • assistance in crop and livestock farming
  • better flow of water in waterways and drains

In 12 months, Mr Reddy’s performance record speaks for itself.  The following is a snapshot of what he has achieved. He:

  • successfully got 195 livestock farmers to plan high protein, drought-tolerant pasture, Juncao, on their farms
  • provided fencing materials to 130 new farmers to establish medium-sized holdings of goats and sheep
  • built 25km of farm roads using ministry machines to help farmers
  • reversed the declining production of key agricultural commodities.
  • has lifted the supply of dalo. This time last year there was a major shortage.
  • has increased the supply of yaqona (kava). As a result the farmgate price has dropped from $120 per kg to $65 per kg.
  • has managed to convince farmers to change their mindset from subsistence existence to go commercial. As a result cash crops and frozen exports have increased.
  • has restructured Agro Marketing Authority to go to the farmgate and buy produce directly from farmers. Farmers no longer have to worry about finding the markets.
  • established a farmer trust account where 15 per cent of their gross revenue will be kept to be used for next crop planting.
  • set up 20 new orchards for fruit tree, avocado, guava, breadfruit, dragon fruit and mango.

Increased activities in the rural and maritime zones which could ultimately reverse the urban drift.

Last year, when he visited one of the islands he was told of the dwindling population.

It was attributed to the movement of young people to urban centres looking for higher education and employment.

It was obvious that unless there were enough activities on the island to engage the young people they would leave. Many of our rural and maritime people have land and maritime resources.

If these resources can be converted for commercial use, they could help to keep the young people gainfully employed in the rural and maritime areas.

Mr Reddy’s efforts would ultimately help create opportunities and stimulate economic development for our rural and maritime people.

His passion to fulfil his Government’s vision is there for all to see.

His efforts cannot be faulted.

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