Conducting emergency drainage works and repair of floodgate structures has brought relief to close to 300 hundred farmers in Dreketi as part of rehabilitation program for the Ministry of Waterways.
This followed a request from one of the largest rice farming communities in Fiji on an agenda to normalise rice production for the sufficient supply in the market.
Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy said these were the actions his aligned Ministries are undertaking to restore agricultural activity in the Northern Division.
“We will ensure that we will do all the emergency drainage work to allow the water to move out quickly so that farmers here can quickly restart their agricultural activity and get production going,” he said.
The Minister said it was necessary to clear out the drains as most were filled with silt, soil or debris during TC Yasa.
In addition, he said all floodgates structures that had been damaged during the recent cyclone are under repair, to avoid further flooding.
Meanwhile, the President for the Fiji Rice Farmers Association, Mr Yadh Ram acknowledged the timely assistance from both the Ministries in an effort to bring about some sense of normalcy to the farming communities in the North.
“We thank the Government, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways in particular, for the swift assistance for farmers in North, such as the land preparation and drainage program for the rice farmers,” Mr Ram said.
“This will allow farmers to take immediate action and start their farming again, thanks to the drainage assistance by the Ministry of Waterways,” he said
In addition, a 71 year old rice farmer Mr. Shiu Ram from Dogiwaqa settlement from Dreketi in Macuata commended the government’s timely response to assist farmers through their various programs in the North to help them recover immediately.
“I have been farming for ages and have seen many leaders and governments but this kind of support and response has never been given by any government in the past,”
“We have the drainage works done in our farms through Ministry of Waterways together with land preparation and seed distribution by the Ministry of Agriculture which is available free to the farmers and that’s what all are needed for farming,” Mr Ram said.