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Abundance of wealth

Shayal Devi
Monday, November 13, 2017

A FAVOURABLE climate in the West has allowed communities in the division to benefit immensely from farming.

In recent months, dry weather has been a thorn in the side for many farmers as they struggled to provide adequate food and water for livestock and maintain crops.

Farmers have recently been blessed by sporadic rainfall in most parts of the division and just in time for the West Agriculture Show that was held in Nadi last week.

Farmers took this opportunity to showcase various crops and farming methods to members of the public and show how lucrative the business can be.

An annual fixture on the events calendar, the West Agriculture Show has become a great platform for many farmers and aspiring farmers to build skills and purchase or sell products.

Over the years, the sector has also become an important and significant player in national development and a contributor towards the national GDP.

President Jioji Konrote, while opening the agriculture show, said while Government stepped in to rehabilitate the agriculture sector in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the losses farmers accrued were usually substantial and mostly permanent.

"I am therefore pleased to note that Government is working with the Food and Agriculture Organisation in designing a crop insurance scheme for the agriculture sector," he said.

"This will provide an opportunity for insured farmers to recover the value of their damaged crops, and improve their farm rehabilitation program.

"This will also help ensure that the national wealth is fairly distributed, and employment opportunities made available to a wide cross section of our communities."

With changing weather patterns prevalent across the division, farmers have been urged to adopt new and innovative farming methods that could help sustain crops and livestock.

Mr Konrote said the dry spell experienced in the Western Division had forced many to change farming practices.

"We are all familiar with the impacts of natural disasters on our agriculture sector.

"Tropical Cyclone Winston, for instance, caused damage in excess of $200 million to the agriculture sector alone. The sector is yet to fully recover in many parts of the country.

"The recent dry conditions the Western Division has been experiencing and the consequential impact on crop and livestock production is testimony to the fact that we must practise climate-smart agriculture.

"All farmers and would-be farmers should agree to adopt the climate-smart agriculture approach.

"This will enhance the development of sustainable farming systems that provide reliable sources of food and income security for all."

Meanwhile, students from various education centres across the West were also part of the agriculture show. They partook in activities like oratory contests, poster competitions and quiz contests.

According to education officer West Adriu Qio, the programs were a way for the public to witness how knowledgeable students were on climate smart agriculture.

"Farmers are one of the critical players of the agriculture sector," he said.

"The nation's food security depends entirely on you and your productivity and this underlines the immense responsibility that you, our farmers, are tasked with as you play a vital role in our economy and wellbeing."

The 2017 Agriculture show theme was "Climate Smart Agriculture for Fiji".

The agriculture show closed with an awards ceremony for the best farmers at the event.

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