NATION

Ministry Raises Rice Farmer’s Hopes

“After the cyclone the ministry gave me 60 kilogrammes of seedlings and I planted them even though I had lost hope,” Mr Prasad said.
21 May 2021 12:48
Ministry Raises Rice Farmer’s Hopes
Mahendra Prasad stands beside the rice combine harvester in Wailevu, Labasa on May 19, 2021. Photo: Shratika Naidu

With assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mahendra Prasad of Wailevu, Labasa has now decided to continue rice farming.

When his three-acre farm was damaged during Tropical Cyclone Ana on January 31, 2021 he lost hope to continue after 30 years of farming.

“After the cyclone the ministry gave me 60 kilogrammes of seedlings and I planted them even though I had lost hope,” Mr Prasad said.

“By the grace of God the seedlings survived.”

But he encountered a hurdle, the the father of four children said finding labourers during this COVID-19 crisis was hard to come by.

“Then I rushed to the ministry’s office in Labasa and they assisted me,” the 50-year-old farmer said.

“Under the rice programme initiative the ministry provides a rice combine harvester to harvest rice.”

He only had to pay $81 to use for three hours to harvest four tonnes in the paddy field.

“Before I used to spend $400 to pay the labourers working for four to five days harvesting half an acre rice farm,” he said.

“I am really thankful to the ministry and Minister Mahendra Reddy for this initiative.

“It gives hope to poor farmers like us to continue farming.”

He said the use of machines has reduced time, effort and money.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



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