NATION | Politics

Farmers To Benefit From New Project

Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy said work was on the way to support and secure funding for the programme.
10 Feb 2021 10:03
Farmers To Benefit From New Project

The Ministry of Agriculture will soon roll out a new ‘Cash for Cultivation’ programme for farmers to earn extra income.

Farmers who have cultivated a minimum one-acre of land will receive $150 cash.

This is for vegetable production.

Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy said work was on the way to support and secure funding for the programme.

While highlighting his ministry’s contributions post-Tropical Cyclone Yasa and Ana, Mr Reddy said farmers in the North were the worst affected and the ministry would implement an intensive response plan to ensure farmers are fully rehabilitated. A team from the ministry is currently deployed on the ground carrying out detailed damage assessments.

It is estimated that vegetable farmers in the lower valley area of Sigatoka incurred damages of around 10 per cent and between 60 to 80 per cent for vegetable farmers in Ba and Nadarivatu.

Root crop farms in the Central Division were also badly affected by flooding in low lying areas with farmers experiencing more than 80per cent damages to their crops.

“Agriculture as we are all aware, is a vulnerable activity that is highly susceptible to natural disasters,” he said.

“It is therefore imperative for the sustainable development of the sector, that we are well prepared and have the right response plans in place that reflects disaster risk and resilience.

Further devastation brought by Tropical Cyclone Ana 44 days after Cyclone Yasa not only scaled up the demand for recovery and rehabilitation efforts, but it also hampered the ministry’s ability to respond quickly given the widespread impact, cutting off access and causing major infrastructure damages around Fiji.

“The real work starts now, as we bounce back to rebuild, recover and rehabilitate,” he said while acknowledging the assistance by UN Food Agriculture Organization for provision of a Disaster Risk Management consultant to review their preparedness, response and rehabilitation plans and standard operating procedures.

An initial estimate of total damages caused to affected agriculture households was valued between FJ$108.9 million and FJ$128.3 million.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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