Reviving rice industry remains a priority: Reddy

Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy with Duavata rice farmers. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE revitalisation of the rice industry continues to be a priority of the Ministry of Agriculture in its ongoing efforts to improve efficient production through continued research for a self-sufficient and sustainable rice industry.

While addressing the Naselai Rice Farmers Group in Naselai, Tailevu, during his two-day Central Division tour today, Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy said┬ástrategies to ensure a revived and strengthened rice industry was in progress by the Ministry of Agriculture, some of which included the introduction of high-yielding improved rice varieties in Fiji, increasing the capacity of the ministry’s research division and continued production and supply of more certified seed and planting materials to farmers.

He also highlighted planned strategies for the commercialisation of the rice industry, which would require close collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, rice farmers and stakeholders.

“Rice farming can be labour intensive, hence the ministry continues to mechanise many of the husbandry practices, including providing access to various types of rice machines which were available to farmers on subsidised rates and the formation of rice clusters where possible to achieve economies of scale which ensure machine optimisation,” Mr Reddy said.

“The ministry will also consolidate rice development in areas where land improvement and irrigation work is carried out and will focus on rice breeding and promotion programs, which involves research and seed production of quality rice seeds, which will be supplied to the farmers for better yields,” he added.

Naselai Rice Farmers Group consists of nine members who plant rice mainly for food security and are also supplying rice for their market.

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