September 13, 2020
Pictured: Hon. Minister for Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy
Fiji has only realized 20per cent of its full agriculture potential, says Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Mahendra Reddy. He made the comments while officiating at the contract signing between Na Momo Levu Na Tui Sabeto and Agro Marketing Authority in Sabeto on Wednesday (9.9.20).
“The remaining 80per cent is yet to be explored,” he said. Dr Reddy said thanks to COVID-19, a significant amount of interest had been raised about the agriculture sector.
“In every crisis there is an opportunity. And this crisis raised the importance of how agriculture can come back and become a leading sector in the country.”
He said there was a lot of good quality un-used land in the interior which could be utilized. He urged Fijians to work on it in order to harness the remaining 80per cent of commercial agriculture potential.
In addition, the Hon. Minister shared some of the developments his Ministry were currently undertaking.
“We have established and are expanding our yaqona nursery at Davuilevu where farmers will be receiving yaqona seedlings at a very low cost; or basically for free.
“Later, farmers can return that to the Ministry in equal amount of cuttings for which we provided the seedlings,” he said. Expanding yaqona cultivation in the Western Division was another key area, Government was looking into, Dr Reddy said.
“At the moment there is a significant volume of yaqona produced in this region. We will establish more yaqona nurseries on this side and will assist farmers who are interested.”
Organic manure was another area of focus.
“We will also establish at the Ministry of Agriculture Legalega Station, Nadi an organic manure centre where we will develop organic manure and pass it to farmers.
“So very exciting times ahead for Agriculture,” the Hon. Minister shared. He said these latest developments were aligned to the Strategic Priorities of the Ministry of Agriculture for the years 2019 to 2023.
Two of these priorities, Dr Reddy said, were improving the food and nutritional security of all Fijians including those in the rural or maritime areas; and expanding commercial agriculture by Fijian farmers urged to grow for the market rather than personal consumption.