Nasaucoko Farmers urged to increase agriculture production: Minister Reddy

April 17, 2021

Picture: Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy with Bitovani Farmers' Cooperative members and Nasaucoko villagers.

A newly-established farmers’ cooperative in the Navosa Highlands was challenged to increase agriculture production after their one-third contribution resulted in a tractor handed to them last week.

Bitovani Farmers’ Cooperative Chairman, Mr Rupeni Buma expressed in i-taukei their gratitude for the tractor that would assist their 14 members.

He said they managed to collect their one-third contribution in a very short time as the members of the Cooperative were from one family.

In addition, Mr Buma said their Cooperative was registered in mid-January and not long after that, the members met and everyone managed to raise their portion.

He said it was also the first time that Nasaucoko Village had received any government assistance and the reason the community hall was filled with not only their villagers but others from nearby areas also came to witness the occasion. 

The Bitovani Farmers’ Cooperative has a total of more than 20 acres of land fully utilized with the growing of melon, tobacco plants, cassava, and sweet potatoes, amongst other crops. 

Minister for Agriculture, Waterways, and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy said he was honored to officiate at the occasion as it demonstrated the commitment by the Village to expand agriculture.

“Today, is a very proud moment for this village. You are fulfilling the dream of mechanization here in Nasaucoko.

“There are about 57 households in the village that will benefit and I want to congratulate each member of the household who contributed towards that $5,500 deposit, your one-third contribution,” he said.

Dr Reddy understood that it was not easy to collect that amount of money. To illustrate, he explained, that other farmer cooperatives had also requested for a tractor but were struggling to collect their one-third contributions. 

“I want to congratulate the elders of the village for taking this step. It is not easy to collect $5,500.

“But you, in a very short period of time, were able to collect the money. 

“I want to thank you very much and I want to see production, quadruple in this area and when you do, you will receive more returns, more than what you spent to acquire this tractor,” he said.

The Minister urged the Cooperative to properly look after the tractor and ensure that it lasted more than 20 years.

He also offered the service of the Ministry mechanic in the area to assist the Cooperative should the tractor need repairs, however, he said, the group was also responsible to buy the parts needed if there was a breakdown.