March 31, 2022

Picture: Recipients of the beef fencing kit offer letters at Lawaqa Agriculture Office.

Beef farmers of Nadroga/Navosa have been issued a stern challenge by the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy to utilize the assistance under the Beef Extension Programme (BEP) to raise their stock and aim for commercial level operations.

While handing over beef fencing kit offer letters to 40 recipients from Nadroga/Navosa at Lawaqa recently, Minister Reddy said the successful recipients had become part of the new era of beef farming in Fiji.

“Never before, in one year, have we given 260 farmers this capital to establish their commercial beef cattle farms, every year, at the most, we would’ve given 30 or so farmers the fencing material packages but this year, we will be giving fencing materials to 260 beef cattle farmers.

“Forty of you here are part of that 260 around Fiji, and I want to put a challenge to you, you mustn’t treat this as just the usual investment that we have given or made in the past, which has failed. Tilivalevu has failed, Yalavou has failed, those schemes were a waste of Government expenditure,” he said.

“We want Fiji to have 100 per cent beef meat to be sourced from within. Why are importing beef meat when we have so much good quality land? Today, 40 of you are receiving this and I want to see, who will be the recipient who has a stockyard in 2 years.

“If you are a good successful commercial beef cattle farmer, we will establish a stockyard on your farm. Now, we are giving this to you today because I am fed up with failed ventures, look at Yalavou, we had street lights right up into the interior, it has failed because of the mentality that beef cattle farms will grow by themselves, the fencing is done, the animals are there and it’ll grow but I am sorry to say that it doesn’t happen that way.

Recipients were also reminded of their responsibilities as beef cattle farmers which were to properly manage the paddocks and fencing parameters, safeguard cattle from diseases, manage pastures and conduct weed control.

“These are some things to consider and honestly, I look at the 40 of you, I don’t know who will be successful, who are the ones that will become a successful beef cattle farmer?

“Or after 2 years, the fences are broken, the animals are all gone and so forth, let’s see, that is the challenge I give to you, so if you fail, don’t come back to us and ask for assistance again, we’ll look for someone more deserving,” he said.

“We need at least 100 solid commercial beef cattle farmers from this total number of 260 throughout Fiji, and this is a new era, we’re serious about this, we’re not going to continue to pour money into farmers who are not interested in growing agriculture but are only interested in personal consumption which is a blatant waste of Government resources.