NEWS

PM Commissions Communal Rice Farming Scheme at Bavu Village

The Government would directly supply seeds and assistance with land preparation. There are 10,500 hectares in the surrounding area in Bavu
02 Apr 2021 13:18
PM Commissions Communal Rice Farming Scheme at Bavu Village
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the commissioning of the communal rice farming scheme at Bavu Village, Nadroga on April 1, 2021. Photos: Waisea Nasokia

The Bavu Communal Rice Scheme is an initiative which is the first of its kind, designed to help farmers cash in on the growing demand for rice in Fiji.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama re­vealed this at the commissioning of the com­munal rice farming scheme at Bavu village, Nadroga yesterday.

He said this was a commit­ment in making this communal planting ini­tiative a success which could be replicated in other communities.

The Government would directly supply seeds and assistance with land preparation as there are 10,500 hectares in the surrounding area in Bavu, which is targeted through this initiative for the next two cropping seasons.

“If you cultivate at least one acre or more of rice, farmers will be granted $200. It’s that simple.

You can visit the nearest Agriculture Office for more details, as well as a platform called ‘We Rice Up’ to help you gain the tech­nical know-how and machinery you need to become rice farmers.

But given the great de­mand we have for rice, it’s time we add it to that list of essential Fijian crops,” he said.

He added that the first priority for this indus­try was to meet the massive demand already here in Fiji.

“But that is not where our ambition ends. As we grow more rice, and establish the Fiji Rice brand, we’ll look to market Fijian-grown rice regionally and around the world.

“Let that commitment set the standard for our support to you, to this Industry, and to the pivotal role agriculture plays in our economy. One acre at a time, we will find creative ways to grow our way to opportunity.

“Your success strengthens your nation’s food security, and I trust it will inspire farmers across the country to seize new opportunities where they see them.”

Farmer Sitiveni Nacoko, 68 said: “This is great news for us farmers to benefit from. It takes only three months and after sugar cane we shall explore it. We will talk with Fiji Rice on their assurance to buy from us.”

Bavu Soqosoqo Vakamarama president Timaima Ralolokua said: “We know the hard­ship of the past year. We hope this can assist us to feed our families and also to sell for other Fijians to eat.”

Rice details

  • On average, Fiji imports 40,000 tonnes of rice every year. That’s about $40 million-worth of rice grown in places like South East Asia.
  • Last year, Fiji’s farms produced 5748 tonnes of rice with nearly every grain going to satisfy demand in Fiji. Even so, domestic crops only supplied a mere 13 per cent of rice sold in Fiji. That remain­ing 87 per cent represents opportunity.

 

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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