SUNBIZ

Seeds To Boost Food Security, Says Reddy

Announcing the new initiatives at the Grace Road Farm in Sabeto, Nadi, yesterday, Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy said the new plans would be rolled out in all villages in Fiji.
21 Apr 2020 13:43
Seeds To Boost Food Security, Says Reddy
From left: Agricultural Marketing Authority chief executive officer Alvin Sharma, Sugarcane Growers Fund chief executive officer Raj Sharma, Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark, Assistant Minister for Agriculture Viam Pillay, Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Ritesh Dass, Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy and president of Grace Road Fiji Daniel Kim at Sabeto, in Nadi on April 20, 2020. Photo: Charles Chambers

The Agriculture ministry will provide each household in Fiji seedlings for four major food items, as efforts are ramped up to boost food security.

Announcing the new initiatives at the Grace Road Farm in Sabeto, Nadi, yesterday, Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy said the new plans would be rolled out in all villages in Fiji.

Mr Reddy was at the Grace Road Sabeto farm to commission a commercial potato planting programme.

Home gardening packages

The Ministry of Agriculture has distributed 11,602 seed packages across Fiji.

The breakdown comprised 4774 packages for the Central Division, 979 in the Western Division, 4782 in the Eastern and 150 in the Northern Division.

Also 917 seed packages were distributed to employees of various non government organisations and entities.

“This initiative will greatly enhance food security by giving our people direct access to a diversity of nutritionally rich foods, increased purchasing power from savings on food bills, fall-back food provision due to the potential decrease in production and trade caused by the Tropical Cyclone Harold and coronavirus, and continuity and sustaining food supply through home gardening now and into the future.”

Mr Reddy said many more households were waiting for their seed packages.

“We have now resumed in the preparation, and procurement of planting material and seed packaging.

“We will resume this initiative within two weeks to ensure that the targeted households stated earlier also receive this package.

Rice production and supply

Fiji imported $42.6 million worth of rice in 2019, equivalent to around 40,000 metric tonnes of rice.

“About 8000 metric tonnes of rice is produced and consumed locally and historically, we have achieved around 66 per cent self-sufficiency of rice production.

“We know it can be done as the agro-climatic conditions in Fiji are exceptionally favourable for rice cultivation.

“A total of 24,000 acres of land is required to achieve 100 per cent self-sufficiency for rice with two crops per year.”

The Agriculture ministry will provide:

n up to 30 kilograms of rice seeds (for 1-acre farms) to every sugarcane farmer.

n up to 30 kilograms of rice seeds (for one acre farms) to every non-sugarcane farmer.

n rice seeds to all 1100 villages forcommunity-based rice farming.

Mr Reddy said the turaga-ni-koro would need to provide details of the quantity of rice needed along with the allocated land.

Securing village nutritional security

Mr Reddy said farmers would be assisted in the milling of rice for home consumption, by providing small portable rice mills which would be erected close to rice paddies.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper