May 24, 2024

The Matainavatu farming community was a hype of activities yesterday (23rd May) as farmers around Vunisei village in Rewa gathered in numbers to attend the Farmer Field Day organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways.

Senior Agriculture Officer for the Rewa Province, Apenisa Rarasea in his opening remarks stressed the need for farmers to increase their farming capabilities and to keep up with the various technologies of farming.

“Farmers in Rewa were synonymous over the years for their huge supplies of root crops such as dalo and cassava on a weekly basis to the Nausori and Suva Markets,” said Mr. Rarasea.

“The reason for the increase in prices in root crops now is due to the lack of farming interest and our inability to plant on a large scale for food and income security. Hence the reason for the spike in prices in our respective markets across Fiji,” said Mr. Rarasea.

“That is the reason we conducted the field day in Rewa to guide them on how to increase crop yield per unit area planted. We need to have proper farm plans and always liaise with the Ministry’s Extension Services Division for technical advice. We need to think ahead and move away from only subsistence farming but now move towards semi-commercial and commercial farming as this will surely benefit farmers and their families trickling right through to an improved economy as a whole."

Field day participant and veteran farmer, 71-year old Joseva Ranuku thanked the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways for hosting the Field Day in Rewa.

“I am very grateful indeed for this timely training as it is long overdue and we are really glad that this training has eventuated after the district meeting here at Vunisei. We would like to thank the agriculture officials in Rewa for this initiative and we look forward to other trainings in the future,” added Mr. Ranuku.

“I have been farming for the last four decades and have not looked back as I have certainly reaped great rewards and benefits from toiling the land.”

“I plant dalo, cassava, assorted vegetables together with breadfruit and coconut to supplement our food security and the surplus is sold in the market. Currently, there are 3,000 dalo plants on the ground and another 5,000 dalo suckers were handed over by the Ministry which will be ready for planting in the next few weeks,” added Mr. Ranuku.

The hardworking farmer says that nothing tastes sweeter than farming for a living as a farmer is never short of healthy and nutritious food and is also financially stable as they can harvest and sell their produce any time they wish.

“We just need to carefully plan out our farming programme and manage time wisely,” he smiled.

Mr. Ranuku hopes that more youths will learn to engage in farming and to move away from peer pressure and engaging in unlawful deeds.

Participants were shown demonstrations of how to treat dalo suckers before planting as well as how to apply the necessary chemical to avoid taro beetle infestation. The one day training concluded with a talanoa session for the 25 participants who were present for the Field Day.