THE European Union-funded GROW program has assisted about 450 farmers plant large-scale herbs, spices and fruit orchards that would be stored by FRIEND Fiji for underprivileged families.
FRIEND Fiji chief executive Sashi Kiran said during the opening of a new production facility under the project that 200 community women were trained in fruit drying and making flour from root crops.
She said these products would soon be available in the market.
"Under the program, we have around 450 farmers growing large-scale herbs, spices like chillies, maize for feed, grains for cereals and dhal," she said.
"Around 20 fruit orchards have been started that may produce dried fruits, all the finished goods will end up in this building for processing, packaging and marketing."
She said the project also resulted in the setting up of 180 poultry projects and 40 apiary farmers.
"Today we will see the graduation of youths trained by USP Fiji Centre from the Nadi batch. Around 120 youths are in various stages of training and mentorship.
"I want to personally thank the EU for relieving a major burden and helping us get back on our feet, this production centre means livelihood for hundreds of families, it means a continuum of our programs, livelihood programs providing markets to ensure rural people have a source of income."