from Fiji Times today:
Deforestation cause of North flooding
1204 FJTWednesday, February 28, 2007
DEFORESTATION and farmers' negligence were contributing factors to flooding in the Northern Division.And the Director of Agriculture Extension services Kiniviliame Namoumou, has come out strongly against reports that blamed agriculture practices as the main cause of flooding. ''The irresponsible deforestation in some of the areas affected by the flood must also be looked at and it is very important to delve into the logging practices used in these areas, Mr Namoumou said.
Mr Namoumou said most of the affected areas were exposed to some sort of deforestation in the last ten years and this has come back to have its ill impact on these villages and settlements especially during a torrential downpour. ''When the trees were cut down the roots which hold the soil together begins to weaken and thus lose their hold on the soil allowing it to be easily washed away and causes heavy siltation in the rivers,'' Mr Namoumou said.
Mr Namoumou added that Extension Officers in the Agriculture Department are duty bound to extend to farmers the appropriate farming technologies and practices but the onus is on the farmers to adopt them. He also said that there is an urgent need for Land Conservation Acts to be enforced and appropriate strategies put in place to ensure that the act is adhered to.
Mr Namoumou who toured the Northern Division with the Interim Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Jainend Kumar last week is optimistic that farmers in the affected areas will be assisted in one way or another.