Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Turning somersaults and jumping hoops

from w
When I used to see the Captain Cook cargo ship loading up wheat for Fiji or even rice, I just shook my head in wonder that Fiji cannot produce enough food for the people. Importing food is very expensive. The land in Fiji is so rich and there is plenty of it. In Taveuni you could grow dalo in your armpit! Then I read that enterprising rice farmers in Dreketi, Vanua Levu, don't have the necessary fertiliser to get their crops going. Okay it's not Taveuni soil, but do they need fertilizer? Maybe sugar cane land in some places has been degraded by a century of growing the same crop. Why not try differnet kinds of peas or beans? The government guys in the Ag department should be turning somersaults and jumping hoops to get the rural economy not only going but really flourishing!

From the Fiji Times today :

Fertiliser shortage affects rice farmers
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Update: 10:41AM Shortage of fertilisers remains a challenge for farmers in the Northern Division as it thrives to revitalise the rice industry.

Agricultural officer in charge of the Agricultural Station in Dreketi, Jone Matawalu said while rice farmers are using the Indonesian technology to increase their production, fertiliser shortage continues to be one of the major challenges faced.

"One of the main problems, which the farmers are facing, is the shortage of fertilisers as the South Pacific Fertilisers are not in the position to supply us with the fertilisers that we need right now and it is one of the major drawbacks we are facing," he said.

According to Mr Matawalu, with the support from the Government of Indonesia, China and Japan, the rice farmers have been introduced with new technologies to encounter other challenges.

"Secondly we are trying to introduce new technologies to these rice farmers with the assistance from the Government of Indonesia, China and Japan. However, we really need the constant supply of fertilisers," he said.

Mr Matawalu said the farmers are focusing on the local production and the main market for their rice is Rewa Rice.

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