Ministry Moves To Revitalise Rice Industry


Revitalization of rice farming for the Navua delta will be the next move for the Ministry of Agriculture, Waterways and Environment.
The line Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy highlighted this during a tour of farming communities in Navua recently.
“Navua delta was previously known for rice production but for the last 20 years farmers have moved out of it and basically rice production came to pretty much zero.
We are now reviving it apart from the private venture here, Grace Road which is a major rice producer.”
“We are looking at another 400 acres for rice production, 150 itself is for one farmer who we are assisting and there are 10 to 20 acres for farmers that we are assisting. So we are reviving rice production here as this area is becoming a hotspot for this type of farming.
“We are excited about it, we want farmers here that are planting rice commercially to harvest three crops a year.”
Minister Reddy adds that harvesting three crops a year will also boost nitrogen in the soil and in addition the ministry can push production for dalo, ginger, cassava although one of the major issues was drainage and irrigation support.
The Minister added that the ministry had invested close to half a million in funding for irrigation alone and this has seen a major boost in production of dalo, cassava and ginger.
“For the last six months one farmer, who has 100 acres of land, exported 40 tonnes of ginger but in addition to that this area is a major producer of dalo apart from other areas like Naitasiri and Tailevu where dalo production is very suitable place.”
“About four decades ago sugar was the backbone of the economy, now agriculture will become the backbone of Fiji’s economy. This will be a stable sector that will be in our control as sugar will not be the mainstay but rather non-sugar agriculture like yaqona, dalo, ginger, cassava, yams, pulses and cash crops which we are promoting basically in the Western Division for the tourism sector and the export market.”