Farmers urged not to misuse Government subsidised grant

Rajeshwar Singh of Benai Settlement raising an issue during the informal talanoa session. Picture: SUPPLIED

MINISTER for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy says the misuse of subsidised government assistance will not be tolerated.

He made the comment during an informal talanoa session with farmers of Benai Settlement on the outskirts of Koronubu in Ba yesterday.

Mr Reddy said the practice of circumventing the Government’s assistance for reasons other than its intended purpose was irresponsible of farmers who sought the assistance.

“Let me make it clear, the assistance which is provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, particularly that of land clearing and preparation is to be used for the sole purpose of crop farmers and not for sugarcane farms,” he said.

“Do not misuse the Government-subsidised cost of tractor hours for land preparations other than crop farming, if you’re a crop farmer who has sought assistance from the ministry for land preparation, use it for the purpose for which you had requested, to prepare land for your non-sugar agriculture.”

He discouraged sugarcane farmers from attempting to access the Ministry of Agriculture land preparation assistance for their sugarcane farms as the ministry’s resources were limited and solely intended for crop farming.

“If you’re abusing the system, refrain immediately because there are other areas and farmers who are in desperate need of these services elsewhere and here you are, misusing the Ministry’s services, which would otherwise have been put to better use elsewhere to further other farmers progress,” Mr Reddy said.

The Ministry of Agriculture offers a Government-subsidised rate of $28.50 per hour for both land preparation and land clearing in comparison to the $450 per acre rate for land preparation (ploughing and harrowing), and $4500 per acre for land clearing offered by private contractors.

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