SUNBIZ

Sharma: Local Rice Production Exceeds Target, A First In 15 Years

“The rice paddy price is subsidised by the Government so the more the farmers produce the more we will get it subsidised for the farmers,” Mr Sharma said.
13 Sep 2022 14:00
Sharma: Local Rice Production Exceeds Target, A First In 15 Years
Commissioner Northern Uraia Rainima (left) with Fiji Rice Limited board chairperson Raj Sharma in Labasa on September 10, 2022. Photo:Shratika Naidu

Fiji Rice Limited (FRL) has created history this financial year after it recorded 1685 tonnes of surplus in rice production after, a first in 15 years.

This was attributed to the increase in number of rice farmers over the years from just more than 100 to more than 500 nationwide.

The company’s initial target was 1700 tonnes from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022, for its financial year. The average local rice production annually is 7000 tonnes.

 

Fiji Rice Limited board chairperson Raj Sharma during the launch of rice farmers’ awards in Labasa over the weekend said the milestone wouldn’t have been possible without the input from the management, farmers, technical advisors and assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Government.

He said after Tropical Cyclone Yasa in 2020, the momentum picked up and they witnessed an increase in production in three folds.

“We are quite optimistic that come next year, we are expected to have 2000 tonnes again with the support of all stakeholders,” Mr Sharma said.

 

And with a promising production surplus comes returns, and Mr Sharma said the company recorded an un-audited surplus of around $500,000.

“That is again one of the highest ever that we’ve had,” he said as he explained the model which managed to get them there.

“The rice paddy price is subsidised by the Government so the more the farmers produce the more we will get it subsidised for the farmers,” Mr Sharma said.

“We are aware that during COVID-19 (pandemic) food security was one of the main reasons that people needed to secure themselves.”

 

“And so it had been for the people of the Northern Division.”

He also acknowledged the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and the People’s Republic of China for its assistance in the provision of a rice mill between Lautoka and Ba.

“We are looking at formalising these things subject to all the authorities’ concurrence on the MOU that we will sign,” he added.

Mr Sharma said the capital investment in the last 12 months has been over $150,000.

 

Subsidy and Production

Government this year has allocated close to $1.3 million in subsidy for rice farmers.

“While we have been subsidised with the price of paddy from this year August, FRL will try to meet part of the cost of the purchase of paddy,” he said.

“This eventually means that the price of rice paddy for the first grade which was $800 come increase to $850 from November 1, 2022.”

 

It’s a Government effort which he said people must acknowledge the Ministry of Economy and the minister.

Second grade which was $750 has been reduced to $700 and the third grade from $650 to $600.

The reason being is that they want premium quality rice with the moisture content that is dry for the farmers to produce.

“The whole logistics of this is because it is food that our consumers and customers consume,” he said.

 

“We have been quite liberal to get even the wet paddies and dry through the mill.”

The farmers would not have realised that there has been a loss coming to their balance sheets because of that.

The wet paddies that they buy, it has been milled, goes to the shelves and it has been returned to them.

“So what we will do, we will increase your premium price, you get it dried and get us quality paddy,” he told the farmers.”

He advised the farmers to get the maximum out from rice farming.

 

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Subscribe-to-Newspaper