NATION

Sabeto Farmers Pioneer Contractual Farming

These farmers on Thursday signed contractual agreements with the authority to provide them with the quantity of the required produce, at the stipulated intervals.
10 May 2020 12:19
Sabeto Farmers Pioneer Contractual Farming
Agriculture Minister Mahendra Reddy (sitting fourth from left), Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Ritesh Dass and Agriculture Marketing Authority chief executive officer Alvin Sharma with the pioneering contractual farming Sabeto group of farmers with their signed contracts. Photo: DEPTFO News

Fifteen farmers of Sabeto, Nadi, have become the pioneering group of the recently introduced Contractual Farming initiative of the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA).

These farmers on Thursday signed contractual agreements with the authority to provide them with the quantity of the required produce, at the stipulated intervals.

A predetermined pricing range and the obligations of the authority and the individual farmers are also stipulated in the contract agreement.

In announcing the contract signing, Agriculture Minister Mahendra Reddy said it was a historic day as farmers would now be contracted, therefore treating farming as a business, the first step towards making agriculture a billion dollar export industry.

He highlighted the role of the authority, which was to secure local and international markets, ensure a consistent volume of supply, and to guarantee the quality of the required produce.

Mr Reddy also invited investors to consider agriculture as a viable business opportunity.

“There is no better time to invest in agriculture than now,” he said.

“If there is anything good that has come out of COVID–19, it has renewed our interest in agriculture, mobilised the entire country to get into agriculture, re-energise everyone that this is where the money is and that this is the future of this country.”

He also highlighted the overwhelming response from members of the public in recently announced agricultural initiatives.

“Two weeks ago, every day from 7.00am, there was a long line of people in front of our Raiwaqa Agriculture Office, people were waiting for their home gardening packages. That is the level of interest generated amongst our people,” he said.

“We are here, and ready to support you. The only prerequisite is that it must be a commercial business model.

“We are also calling out to all organisations, institutions, commercial agricultural enterprises and potential agriculture enterprises to come forward and support the Ministry.

“There can be no better investment than in the proposed, market-driven commercial agriculture venture, serving the dual purpose of food and nutritional security and to expand agriculture to become the main exporter for this country.”

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Sabeto farmers, Sunil Prasad thanked the Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Marketing Authority for their support in getting farmers to be a part of the contractual farming initiative.

“For me, this is history, I am now 60-years-old and we are here today to sign a contract to supply to the AMA. I am very thankful to the Minister Mahendra Reddy for his support for us and I believe that this will only benefit us farmers in the long run,” said Mr. Prasad.

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