Farmers to branch out

Farmers inspect their potato farm at Nadala village, Nadarivatu. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE Agriculture Ministry plans to use about 10,000 hectares of land at Nadarivatu in Tavua for commercial farming programs. During a visit to Nadala Village this week, Agriculture Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy said the programs would include introducing new crops and vegetables for each farmer to plant.

He said the focus would be on specific crops instead of individual farmers diversifying into too many products.

“We also don’t want to go too wide in terms of planting too many crops because we want to develop the farmer to be an expert in whatever crop they plant,” said Dr Reddy.

“For the commercial farmer, we want him or her to be an expert in a particular crop and their focus to be intensive and driven to produce more.”

Nadala vegetable farmer Peniasi Keteiwai said the new initiative was welcomed by the growers.

“We did our best when it came to farming different types of vegetables,” he said. “But our biggest challenge was finding the market to sell our crops and vegetables.

“That was the main part of our business that we struggled with.

“If we don’t have the market then we will not be able to earn enough to sustain our farms.”

The ministry announced this week that the Agriculture Marketing Authority would purchase produce from farmers in Nadarivatu.

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