THE Department of Agriculture has noted an increase in idle land in Cakaudrove Province, citing people's preference for manufactured food over farm produce as a cause.
Senior Agricultural officer Savusavu Esava Tuimoala told the Cakaudrove Provincial Council meeting that people opted to eat commercially manufactured food sold in shops rather than plant their own fresh produce.
Mr Tuimoala said less people were planting on the land around them as the source of their food.
"The ministry is setting its target at reducing the purchase of imported goods when they can be produced locally and consumed directly from farms," he said.
"We are encouraging people to grow their own food for personal consumption, for occasions and for commercial purposes.
"Government is concerned about who will take over from farmers in using land that is currently lying idle hence we are encouraging farmers to use the empty farm land that we have."
Mr Tuimoala said as Fiji braced itself for the cyclone season from November to April, local and traditional knowledge to conserve food and store supplies for the season would be appropriate to use.