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Fiji Time: 2:22 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Rice mill to open

Salaseini Moceiwai
Saturday, January 11, 2014

RICE farmers affected by the temporary closure of the Rewa Rice mill in Dreketi, Macuata, can breathe a sigh of relief now that the company has assured it will open its doors from next week.

Mill manager Ashrit Pratap said the mill had been closed for urgent repairs in the past week.

"We expect the mill to be operational from next week because the mill generator parts we are waiting for will arrive this weekend from Australia" he said.

"The mill's board members met last week and approved the urgent upgrade."

Mr Pratap clarified that in the past 12 months, Rewa Rice had taken the initiative to buy rice paddies directly from the farmers, not only in Dreketi but all over Fiji.

"The company is also picking up paddies from farmers' residences and farms to avoid transport costs and to analyse the rice quality."

Mr Pratap said the company was paying $750 for a tonne of paddy with the assistance of a grant from the government.

"The company has also taken the initiative to provide fertiliser and weedicide at reasonable cost to the farmers.

"The government has provided the weedicide free.

"The company is looking at formulating its corporate plans and budgetary allocations this month with various initiatives for the rice industry."

Company chairman Raj Sharma said Rewa Rice Limited would go through a reform process this year.

It was earlier reported that about 400 farmers were worried about their back to school shopping because their paddies had not been sold since the closure of the mill.