May 27, 2024

Thirty-seven famers in Vanua Balavu, Lau will now be able to expand their farms and increase their livelihoods after the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways ongoing farm road construction is fully completed.

A total of 2.5 kilometres is expected to be cleared creating new farm access as well as proper drainage.

The Ministry had deployed machines to the island of Vanua Balavu three weeks ago in a bid to improve the farm access roads for farmers which has been long overdue.

Minister for Agriculture and Waterways, Honourable Vatimi Rayalu says that there were requests from farmers in Lau for assistance on farm access roads.

“These farmers have not had the opportunity to expand their farms due to the difficulties they face in accessing prime farm land,” Hon. Rayalu said.

“Through concerted efforts by the divisions in the ministry, we now have machines in Vanua Balavu Island. Works have begun on building farm access roads, and this is a huge boost for the farmers.”

“These farmers have been deprived of opportunities to explore potential crops for additional income. Works that are currently ongoing will certainly assist them in their quest for creating better livelihoods,” explained Hon. Rayalu.

Hon. Rayalu said they had identified areas in Lakeba and Moala Islands after similar requests were made to him.

“Once Vanua Balavu is completed, we will then work closely with other government ministries and village representatives for the construction of farm access roads as well as additional land preparation works.”

Principal Agriculture Officer for the Eastern Division, Nimilote Waqabaca said work was progressing well and farmers have also started their planting programmes.

“We also have a tractor that has been carrying our land preparation works and so far around six acres of land have been prepared and already planted with cassava for eight farmers from the villages of Malaka, Urone, Boitaci and Narocivo.”

According to 55-year-old Vuniwai Korocawiri, the village headman for Mualevu Village, families are excited with the progressive works.

“We are so happy and grateful to the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways for the assistance. We have been crying for development for many years but it has always fallen on deaf ears. Before we used to reach our farms using horses and by foot,” explained Mr. Korocawiri.

“We are confident that we will be able to plant more root crops and vegetables by expanding our farms. We thank Hon. Rayalu and his dedicated team,” said Mr. Korocawiri.

The Ministry will continue to reach out to the isolated communities and islands in the Eastern Division to ensure sustainable agricultural development.