Fiji Time: 4:44 PM on Tuesday 23 December

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Help for farmers

Dawn Gibson
Saturday, January 19, 2013

FARMERS who make up the non-sugar agricultural sectors of the country can expect to receive more assistance throughout the next 18 months.

This was confirmed this week by Simon Cole, interim chairman of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC).

"The council has received funding for the Secretariat from the European Union through a project implemented by the International Trade Centre," Mr Cole said.

"We hope farmers can play a greater role in improving food security sustainability and improving the economy and the nation's GDP.

"The main objective of the FCLC is to act as an apex forum for advocacy to better represent the needs of farmers to government and stakeholders as well as raise the profile of Fiji's farmers involved with crops and livestock production."

One of the initial steps the secretariat hopes to make is the introduction of IT services and mobile-based applications.

"Most important is the development of a phone-based membership system that will allow farmers, through the touch of a button, the opportunity to belong to their respective associations and through the associations to access the council," a statement from the FCLC read.

Pacific Reach Limited managing director George Rubine said they aimed to try and make the initiative a sustainable one eventually.

"It's initially an 18 month funded project but the idea is to try and stretch it as long as six years, we just want to get it self-sustained," Mr Rubine said.

The FCLC secretariat is hoping to set up an operational office in Lautoka by the end of next month.