SUNBIZ

Portable Mill Helps Farmers

In Korovatu, Labasa, 40 farmers who will directly benefitr from the mill, hailed the Food Agricultural Organisation for the effort. Minister for Agriculture, Mahendra Reddy, presented the machine, and said Fiji’s import bill on rice was $42 million.
01 Mar 2022 13:00
Portable Mill Helps Farmers
Rice farmer, Santa Ram, with a basin of rice that was milled through the new portable rice mill at Korovatu, Labasa, on February 27, 2022. Photo: Laisa Lui

The livelihood of 40 farming families is expected to improve after a portable mill was presented to them.

In Korovatu, Labasa, 40 farmers who will directly benefitr from the mill, hailed the Food Agricultural Organisation for the effort.

Minister for Agriculture, Mahendra Reddy, presented the machine, and said Fiji’s import bill on rice was $42 million.

 

“We want to cut that down as we’re wasting a lot of money by importing rice into the country,” he said.

“We’re emphasising on rice production as it is one of our staple crops.

“When it comes to food security, we want to ensure we have total control over the crops we consume,” he said.

 

“Rice is one staple we can have control of.

“It is easy to grow.

“We are promoting the three-month variety of rice – boldgrain, star and cagimaivou.

“It allows farmers to have more than two crops a year should there be good conditions,” he said.

 

Milling Rice For Domestic Use
Mr Reddy urged farmers to plant more rice, and to use the portable mill only for milling rice for their personal consumption.

The rest of the rice could be sold to Fiji Rice Limited.

He warned farmers against milling for retail purposes, as that was the role of Fiji Rice.

 

For rice farmers like Santa Ram, the challenges of milling rice is now a thing of the past.

The 60-year old said they either had to walk long distances or look for transport to carry bags of rice to the nearest rice mill.

Farmers would paid $1.50 for every tin of rice that was being transported.

 

“I have planted two acres of the bold grain variety which only takes three months to harvest and can have two crops in a year,” Mr Ram said.

“We can fill 20 bags of rice in one harvest.

“Depending on the family size, there is enough rice to last a household for a year.”

 

Feedback: laisa.kabulevu@fijisun.com.fj



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