THE Agriculture Ministry is concentrating on revitalising and increasing vegetable production for municipal markets in the Western Division rather than expanding to other parts in the region.
Agriculture deputy director Uraia Waibuta said the ministry would concentrate on addressing certain challenges that vegetable farmers faced.
"This year, we will focus a lot on increasing the yield of each vegetable farming project that we have committed ourselves to," he said.
"The projects in the West include the high value agriculture project in Nadarivatu and the Sigatoka Valley vegetable project.
"These projects have been providing sufficient vegetable produce to the areas nearby and we want to increase this yield this year."
According to Mr Waibuta, a project such as the high value agriculture project in Nadarivatu was conducted with the aim of producing quality vegetable produce for municipal markets by smallholder farmers.
Commissioned by Minister for Agriculture Lieutenant Colonel Inia Seruiratu last year, the project was geared towards providing many poor and remote communities in Nadarivatu with employment and income.
With a funding of $US500,000 ($F950,000) by the International Fund for Agriculture Development, the project was introduced to 13 villages in the area.
Mr Waibuta said the challenge for the ministry now would be to ensure there was consistent production from the farms.
"We want to ensure that they produce certain crops and vegetables at a consistent rate.
"We have noticed that some of the farmers were not consistent with their yields while others tend to concentrate on producing a certain type of vegetable while not concentrating on other high valued vegetables.
"We have officers that constantly visit these areas to ensure that these farmers are practising the full package of standard practices to ensure that their crops and vegetables are producing not only a large quantity but also quality products for our markets."