PART of the $700,000 budgeted for the rice revitalisation program on Vanua Levu will also be used to buy more machines for rice farmers.
Principal agricultural officer north John Cox made the comment at yesterday's Northern Development Board meeting in Labasa.
He informed board members more machines should be bought for rice farmers because of labour shortage.
"On rice farms, especially farmers in Dreketi face a major labour shortage and it is because their children have opted for white collar jobs," Mr Cox said.
"The situation has left behind the older generation who are not as active as the younger generation that have moved out.
"So we need to buy more machines and this will include the walk behind tractors and rice harvesters for farmers to use on their farms," he said.
He said the presence of the machines would help farmers produce more rice and lighten the burden of harvesting.
Farmers in Bua and Cakaudrove are also included in the revitalisation program.
Mr Cox said villages in Cakaudrove that took up rice farming were progressing well.
"It is encouraging to see the commitment from our farmers and to have those from Cakaudrove, including the farmers from Rabi Island is a positive move."
The farmers from Rabi attended a one-week training of rice farming at the Dreketi Agricultural Rice Farming Irrigation centre last month.