Maritime islands to receive farming equipment

ABOUT 500 villagers of Lamiti and Malawai in Gau in the Lomaiviti group will this week receive farming equipment worth $153,678 to ensure there is sustainable agriculture on the island.
The initiative by the Japanese government will result in the handover of a new tractor with farm implements, portable sawmill, and a workshed through the University of the South Pacific’s Project for Upgrading of Sustainable Agriculture in the two villages.
A statement by the Japanese embassy in Suva said the need for farming assistance arose because of the lack of specialised equipment and skills to operate a sawmill on the island, making it difficult to process pine and coconut trees into timber.
“In the past, the villagers often used slash-and-burn method to clear forest into farmlands, which led to the devastation of native forest and wildlife in the island,” it stated.
“This was not a sustainable agricultural practice and had a long-term negative impact on the pristine environment.”