A TOTAL of 85,000 kumala cuttings will be transported to the Yasawas, Mamanuca and Vatulele this morning.
In a morning brief presented by the Lautoka agricultural officer Sitiveni Ratila to heads of government departments, he said the seedlings were part of a government plan to rehabilitate the islanders for food security purposes.
He said they would be shipping some vegetables seedlings to the islands also. Acting principal agricultural officer Western Viliame Mainawalala said the maritime islands were the worst hit by Tropical Cyclone Evan, which destroyed vegetables and root crops.
Mr Mainawalala said the department would first focus on the islanders in terms of seedling distribution before targeting export crops.
"The vegetable seedlings will be for short-term food security — the kumala will supplement the cassava," he said.
"We are aware that the islanders are in dire need of farm and crop rehabilitation due to the damage done by the cyclone," he added. Mr Mainawalala said distribution would also include chinese cabbage and eggplant seeds.
He said the agriculture department had estimated a total spending of $700,000 on crop and livestock rehabilitation.
"We want to provide short term seedlings for food consumption and islanders are urged to make a good use of the assistance."