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Modern technology to boost farming

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, June 18, 2017

SHE has her own fish pond, and runs her own curry powder and Hibiscus Sabriffa flower farm for herbal tea.

After spending 25 years in the agriculture sector, Ram Kumari is no stranger to the struggles of a farmer.

Ms Kumari, who is originally from Viria, Naitasiri, left Viti Levu in 1974 after she committed her heart to Seaqaqa farmer Dewan Chand 15 years ago.

"I was actually approached in 1976 to teach at a school here in Seaqaqa, but I refused to because I was planning on staying with my husband on the farm and drawing people to it because I strongly believe that our wealth is in our land," she said.

"However I believe that it is now time for us to mechanise the agriculture industry if we are to compete with others in this modern age.

"If we are to attract the minds of our young ones back to the farms, we have to mechanise the industry because we now live in an age where we have options."

Ms Kumari, who attended Lelean Memorial School, runs her family farm with her husband after they left cane farming.

Another canefarmer Asraf Khan said there was a dire need to mechanise the cane industry if Fiji was to compete with other sugar producing nations.

Mr Khan said the labour problem that riddled the sugar industry could only be solved if labourers were replaced with harvesting machines.

"We cannot compare the soil fertility level to when our fathers tilled the land then," he said.

"However we can improve productivity if we mechanise our farms, especially the use of cane harvesters during harvest season," Mr Khan said.

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