Agriculture focus on demand driven approach

UNDER its rural and outer island (ROI) program the Ministry of Agriculture assisted 28 livestock and 14 crop farmers in rural and outer islands in the first quarter of 2016/2017.

The ministry had also assisted 12 crop and 37 livestock farmers through the food security program, 15 farmers assisted through the export promotion program while 15 dairy farmers were assisted through the dairy industry support program.

This was revealed by the ministry in a press released yesterday.

It said the Ministry of Agriculture in an effort to enhance the livelihoods of people in Fiji assisted farmers through the demand driven approach (DDA) program to develop sustainable farming in rural and outer island communities.

According to the media release the ministry said the program empowered farmers with a view to the future sustainability of their farms or agribusiness enterprises that are targeted at meeting the demand from production to market.

There are five major capital programs under the DDA program and these include the ROI program, food security program (FSP), export promotion program (EPP), dairy industry support (DIS) program and the Sigatoka Valley development program (SVDP).

It said the ROI Program aimed to enhance the livelihoods of people in the rural areas through farming with concentration on commodities such as rootcrops, yaqona, papaya, vegetables and livestock mainly beef, poultry, pig, sheep and goat.

The EPP aims to improve agricultural exports, particularly the high value export and traditional food crops and livestock and target progressive commercial and subsistence farmers in the Western and Northern divisions with commodities like dalo, cassava, papaya, all bilateral quarantine agreement (BQA) vegetables and ginger farmers that meet market demand.

With the DIS program the ministry hopes to develop smallholder milk producers in the Central and Western divisions.

“This is in alignment with the ministry’s aim to improve average milk production supplied to Fiji Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd (FCDCL) from four litres per cow per day to eight litres per cow per day.”

Through the SVDP the ministry aims to provide drainage and irrigation facilities under the one third, two third basis of Government and to facilitate the intensive use of available farmlands for the production of high value cash crops for the local and export fruits and vegetable markets.

According to the ministry the food security program in itself aims to assist farmers and enterprises in the production and consistent supply of supplementary produce being imported such as rice, beef, sheep and dairy in the Northern and Western division.

With a budget allocation of $1.5 million for ROI, $1m for EPP, $1m for FSP, $850,000 for DIS and $200,000 for SVDP, the ministry has assisted various farmers through these DDA programs.

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