Western farmers encouraged to establish fruit orchards

April 1, 2021

Picture: Mr. Faizal Khan - the Fruit Orchard owner.

Farmers must view their role like any other business, in addition practice inter-cropping to be self-sufficient.

Those were the words of encouragement from the Provincial Administrator Nadroga Navosa, Ms Ruth Atu while officiating at an organized field day for farmers at Faizal Khan’s Orchard farm in Vatukarasa, Nadroga recently.

The field day was held to motivate farmers in the western division to establish fruit orchards on their farms. The exercise is also part of the five initiatives of the Ministry of Agriculture to increase the establishment of Fruit Tree Orchards to farmers. Fruit Trees contain high nutritional value.

“There is a need to develop Fiji's fruit industry to include more locally grown fruits in our diets so it is vital that you set up fruit orchards on your farms for food security and nutritional aspects and the western division has the potential for orchard cultivation,” she said.

Farmers were informed that under agriculture, they played a significant role in the process of economic development of a country.

“It sustains and drives the economy, the backbone of everything and apart from providing food and other raw materials, it also provides employment opportunities.”

She said aside from seasonal fruit, having fruit tree orchards assisted to reduce the import bill of fruits, improve farmer’s livelihoods and the health of Fiji’s general population, and adds to the supply of local fruit,” Ms Atu said

She said it was important to plant fruit orchards as a commercial crop and also think of developing value adding products from it.

With the current pandemic situation, farmers were encouraged to advance and develop farming as a business and for food security.

“We must no longer stay in the knowledge that it is a way of life but go beyond where you look at it as an important lucrative business,” she said.

Further, farmers were enlightened on record-keeping, creating linkages to market, introduced to dragon fruit and a new variety green pearl guava orchard farm.

Women farmer participant Ms Kelera Nasita said the field day was an introduction to new farming areas.

“Some of us are subsistence farmers with the interest to venture into newly introduced fruits for food and nutritional security,” she said.

“Meeting with other farmers enables us to share experiences and learn from them. There is available land with the potential to cultivate fruit orchards, apart from the traditional ones to feed the local market.”

The Faizal Khan Orchard farm is the first orchard farm in Fiji established under the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture.