IN AN effort to stabilise food security in the Western Division, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has implemented a program to revitalise vegetable replanting and improve training opportunities in modern farming methods to boost agriculture activity and yield.
The Ramakrishna Mission (RKM) Fiji has initiated a 'Livelihood Recovery and Food Security' program to address an acute shortage of fruit and vegetable seedlings ù one of the biggest setbacks to farmers desperately trying to begin replanting programs in the division.
With the Western Division bearing $16 million from a total $17.4 million flood damage bill in the agriculture and livestock sectors, the RKM Fiji initiative will contribute to the swift replanting efforts of fruit and vegetable growers in their efforts to get back to pre-flood levels.
RKM Fiji secretary Swami Tadananda said the program hoped to restore food security by assisting 3000 growers for the remainder of this year with the view to establishing an agriculture training unit and a nursery by the end of 2012.
"Because of prolonged floods over vast areas during March this year, many farmers have lost crops, livestock and possessions leading to an acute shortage of fruit and vegetables in the division," Mr Tadananda said.
"The problem has been further worsened by a shortage of seeds resulting in many farmers not being able to start replanting, this is the reason the Ramakrishna Mission is focused on ensuring farmers receive seeds and replanting begins as soon as possible," he said. Swami Tandananda said aid recipients were identified after consultations with Cane Producer Associations involved in Fairtrade Certification.
With a total estimated cost of $200,000, the RKM Fiji is looking for donors to assist in the program ù which promises benefits to flood affected communities from Sigatoka to Rakiraki and also to the wider consumer market countrywide.
* Interested donors can contact the mission at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 9990123.