WESTERN farmers will be given the opportunity to invest in the rice industry with timely assistance from Indonesia.
An initiative of the Lautoka Chamber of Commerce, businessman Raben Bhan Singh has given six acres of his land in Lovu for the pilot rice farm project.
Indonesian ambassador Chandra Salim said the project would give farmers an alternative to cane farming.
He said there were seedling varieties that best suited dry land as practised in Indonesia.
"Indonesia is well-known for rice farming and we have several systems to suit various soil and weather types," he said.
"As for this project we will be using the legowo system in which the plants are planted 15 metres apart.
"This is to give space for each seed to grow to its full capacity. If you use the conventional way of planting, all seeds will not grow in full capacity.
"We have certain varieties where some can be harvested three times a year."
Mr Salim said another objective of the project was to help reduce rice imports.
"This project will identify the kinds of varieties that can be produced at maximum capacity.
"We want to try rice farming here in the West because we want to give farmers an alternative to cane farming.
"We are all rice eaters, this system can reduce rice imports as the government imports about $50million worth of rice per annum."
Landowner Raben Bhan Singh gave the land free of charge in his effort to help the government reduce rice imports.
"Also I want to give the farmers the chance to choose what type of farms that bests suit them," he added.