A GROUP of Rabi islanders will attend a rice farming training with the Ministry of Agriculture this week.
Principal agriculture officer northern, John Cox said having Rabi islanders in the rice farming program was encouraging.
"The nine men from Rabi island will attend a one-week training on how to use machines on rice farms and will go through a refresher course on rice farming," he said.
"Rabi had started the rice farming program a few years ago but on a minor scale."
"Now we will help them expand their rice farms because they want to supply rice to their own market on the island."
Mr Cox said the initiative by the group of Rabi men indicated the public's commitment to help government reduce the amount of imported rice.
The men will be based at the Dreketi rice farm for the training and will be assisted by agricultural officers and rice farmers.
Fiji currently imports $40million worth of rice every year and the Agriculture Ministry plans to cut down the import bill.
Director extension Uraia Waibuta earlier mentioned that more machinery would be purchased to assist farmers with rice farming and to increase the pace of work.
This, he said, would also help increase rice production for the local markets.
The machines would be stationed at various rice farming areas such as Dreketi in Macuata and Nasarawaqa in Bua.