June 11, 2024

The Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways signed the Drainage Board Agreement yesterday, which will see the deployment of around FJD$3.4million to the three Drainage Board Committee that was appointed in April this year in the Central, Western and Northern Divisions.

Agriculture and Waterways Permanent Secretary, Dr. Andrew Tukana said that the signing marks a pivotal moment in the collective efforts to enhance sustainable water management and agricultural productivity in our region.

“I would like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the three Drainage Board Chairman as their expertise, dedication and tireless efforts will certainly be instrumental in steering the Drainage Board into the future. The work you do is vital in ensuring that our water management systems are efficient, resilient and capable of supporting the needs of our farmers and communities,” said Dr. Tukana.

“The signing of this agreement symbolizes more than just a contractual commitment. It represents a unified approach to tackling the challenges posed by water management and climate change. By joining forces, we are not only securing the future of our agricultural sector but also safeguarding the livelihoods of countless individuals who depend on it.”

Director for Waterways, Marau Vuli said that effective drainage systems are the backbone of successful agriculture.

“They protect our lands from flooding, ensure optimal water use and enhance soil health. With this agreement we are laying the groundwork for a brighter more sustainable future where our farmers can thrive and our communities can flourish. As we move forward, let us remain steadfast in our dedication to innovation, sustainability and collaboration. Together we will create a resilient agricultural landscape that can withstand the tests of time and nature,” said Mr. Vuli.

Central Division Drainage Board Chairman, Semi Matalau says that there is a great demand for works to be carried out.

“We have been visiting the communities in the divisions and hearing the plight of farmers with regards to drainage problems which has affected their crop production over the years. Today’s signing marks the start of the work and we ask the farmers to be rest assured that we will now get to work once funds are released to our respective divisions,” explained Mr. Matalau.

Chairman for the West Drainage Board, Vinod Kumar is encouraging farmers to contact them or visit their office in Lautoka if they need to raise their issues.

“Talk to us so that we are able to come around and assess the various drainage and irrigation works that need to be carried out.”

North Drainage Board Chairman, Gyan Chand says farmers faced a lot of hardships when the Drainage Board was dis-established by the previous administration.

“We thank the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways for believing is us. We now have our work cut out for us and we hope to achieve our goals which is to ultimately grow agriculture in the years to come,” said Mr. Chand.

The respective Drainage Board members were all selected in April of this year and will soon begin works with the deployment of funds.