January 19, 2023
Picture: SAO Rewa Mrs Unaisi Remudu conducting the training
With the average rate of only a 5 percent increase in dalo production in the past five years in Rewa and Tailevu, the Ministry of Agriculture is looking at ways to improve dalo production in these two provinces.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently conducted two days of training for 23 dalo farmers at the Kaybee Enterprise farm at Sauniwaqa Subdivision, Nakasi to discuss best practices of growing quality dalo and to maintain the same quality post-harvest along the value chain for domestic, regional and international levels.
Factors affecting the production of dalo in the provinces include saltwater intrusion, changes in weather patterns, adoption of improved dalo farming techniques and fluctuation in dalo prices.
During the training, discussions were held on ways to address these challenges to increase dalo production and empower existing growers to produce quality dalo for selected markets.
Senior Agriculture Officer (Rewa), Ms. Unaisi Remudu said it is important for farmers to take note of changes surrounding the dalo production, market and industry.
“These are dedicated farmers, they play a vital role in the industry and despite the challenges faced over the years and factors affecting the progress, they take up the risk and continue feeding the local market and it is vital that they are equipped with new knowledge that can assist in the boosting production and smart techniques to ease farming,” she said.
The highlights of the training included dalo agronomic practices, seed material treatment, pest and disease control, soil chemistry, soil land management, mechanization, export and basic farm records and sustaining dalo production.
“Dalo is a competitive export commodity and we can lose international trade in the export market if farmers do not meet the importing country’s biosecurity requirements, so it is important to create awareness amongst farmers on the requirements for compliance,” said Remudu.
A participant, Apisai Bakani of Namara in Tailevu said the training has broadened his knowledge on ways to address some key challenges on his farm.
“We were made aware of the practices we lack, what the market requires of us to provide, the practices that I need to focus on boosting my production, I have learned ways to control pests and diseases on my farm, the relevant sizes for the export market and the importance of soil testing,” he said.
Apart from training, as a part of its extension services, the Ministry of Agriculture conducts farm visits, meetings and technical advice to dalo farmers. Ministry also has a dedicated research unit for root crop research and development.
The Ministry of Agriculture has allocated $200,000.00 towards the Dalo Planting Programme for 2022-2023 of which 53 percent ($105,850.00) has been allocated to the Central Division.
According to the statistics from the Fiji Agriculture and Rural Statistics Unit of the Ministry in 2021, the 1,680 dalo farmers in Tailevu province produced 10,180 metric tonnes, while 333 farmers in Rewa province produced 1,474 metric tonnes of dalo during the same period.