To boost service delivery to farmers in the rural and outer areas of Fiji, the Ministry of Agriculture handed three quad bikes to the Agriculture Officers in the Eastern and Western Divisions.

While handing over the quad bikes at the Koronivia Research Station yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture Hon. Vatimi Rayalu stressed the importance of serving farmers diligently.

“The quad bikes are a $75,000 grant from the People’s Republic of China to the Government of Fiji towards the modernisation of the agriculture sector through mechanization. This innovation is thus one of the pillars for revamping the agricultural sector, increasing production, and attracting more youth,” said Minister Rayalu.

He said since the significant increase in households relying on agriculture as a means of income and livelihood from 65,000 in 2009 to 90,000, it is vital that officers are equipped with resources for service delivery.

“With the growing number of farmers and unlocking of new areas for farming, mobility has been a challenge for our technical staff on the ground and with the increase in fuel cost, the quad bikes are a cheaper mode of transportation with the added advantage of handling rough terrains better,” he said.

“It’s a long-term investment by the Ministry to improve our service delivery to farmers you serve in your respective areas and please make sure you look after our assets well.”

The Cicia and Moala agriculture stations from the Eastern division are the recipients of two quad bikes, while the third one is for service delivery to Bilateral Quarantine Arrangement (BQA) farmers in Ba.

Cicia services five villages that comprise of 144 farming households, Moala services 217 farming households from eight villages, and the Ba district has 14,413 farming households.

Fieldman Moala, Jone Besetimoala said the issuance of the quad bike will now make his work easy to inaccessible parts of Moala.

“Serving in outer islands both is a privilege and a challenge and with this bike, we will reach far farms that fibre boats and vehicles cannot reach and this will boost the level of delivery, serving more farmers each day and attending to farmers’ requests,” he said.

Agriculture Technical Officer (ATO) Ba, Isei Namacamaca said the quad bike issued to the Ba province will improve and expand service delivery to BQA farmers in Ba and tap potential areas for export commodities in the district.

The Ministry of Agriculture has a total quad bike fleet of six and the current addition will boost the total fleet to nine.