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Agriculture loses yield

Jone Kalouniviti
Thursday, April 10, 2014

RESEARCH conducted to help fund and support the Agriculture Ministry's seed and fertiliser distribution program conducted early this year has revealed that losses in the Western Division were occurring well before Cyclone Evan.

The report by the UN's Development Fund and Bureau of Statistics said the agriculture sector had experienced massive financial losses because of floods and cyclones over the five years before TC Evan.

UNDP project officer Tomoko Kashiwazaki said just when the industry was showing signs of recovery through increase in overall output in 2011, it was dealt a severe blow in 2012.

"Based on current prices, the Fiji Bureau of Statistics estimated a 27 per cent decline in total agriculture output from 2007 till 2010," Ms Kashiwazaki said.

"Firstly, the industry, particularly in the western parts of Fiji, was decimated through the two floods in January and again April 2012."

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Finance earlier this year, the agricultural sector suffered losses of about $33.9million.

Ms Kashiwazaki said as a result of those losses, the UNDP was supporting the livelihood recovery through Food Security Project which has seen to the distribution of seeds and fertilisers to farmers and youth and women's groups affected by TC Evan.

"It is also important to note that the initial scope of this project (in terms of geographical coverage) is concentrated mainly in one of the three provinces located in the Western Division (Ba Province) given that the agriculture sector in the Western Division was most affected.

"Ba Province, on its own, accounts for 70 per cent of total damage in the Western Division, according to the initial crop damage assessment carried out after TC Evan.

"We have identified that a decline in food supply leads to higher costs of living and related social problems."

Ms Kashiwazaki said the UNDP was the lead agency for human development and early recovery in post disaster situations and was well placed to offer assistance to the government.

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