New farm road access to benefit Taveuni farmers

Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy and Senior officials, Salialevu Estate Manager Gaberieli Josua commissioning the Salialevu Estate farm access road. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE commissioning of 6.3km of farm access roads will provide relief to some 300 farmers within the confines of Salialevu in Taveuni on Vanua Levu.

Salialevu Estate manager Pio Bosco highlighted this after the long-standing struggle of Salialevu Estate farmers in accessing their farms had now been addressed.

Acknowledging the Government’s input towards the Estate’s farming production, Mr Bosco said: “For 15 years, we’ve faced difficulty when traveling to and from our farms and requests for the road upgrading has been submitted on numerous occasions. This farm road has been in use here for more than 30 years and since then, it has deteriorated significantly during this time.”

He said for the 300 or so farmers using the Estate’s land for farming, this road would surely elevate the level of farming on the land “because even though we faced a lot of difficulties, we continued to plant and we continued to make the best out of our situation, we did not stop”.

While officially commissioning the new farm road yesterday, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy said the assistance was provided to alleviate issues that affected production levels.

“Where does Government come in you may ask, because farming is your private enterprise, it is your business. However, Government’s role in this aspect is with respect to public infrastructure because that is part of our core role to build public infrastructure like farm roads, this farm road will benefit the 300 farmers utilising the land which is the concept behind our constructing it, as it is for public use and is, therefore, public infrastructure.

“We hope that through this development, production here in Salialevu increases considerably and you can create surplus and reinvest it back into your farms to ensure a cycle of independent agriculture development amongst yourselves,” Dr Reddy said.

He also praised farmers in Taveuni for their commitment to their respective agricultural ventures, stating that the character shown by those farmers was exemplary.

“Taveuni is an island of model farmers and I am glad to note that farmers on the island are not so dependent on government handouts, you’ve set a standard which must be a model for the rest of Fiji.”

The newly-commissioned farm road was constructed at a cost of approximately $35,000, and was a Ministry of Waterways and Environment-funded project in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

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