Rice development program to boost revitalisation

Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu with rice farmers in the Northern Division. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE recent launching of the Rice Development Program is expected to strongly boost the revitalisation of the local rice industry.

The Rice Development Program was modelled to ensure the continued progress of the rice industry, through the concerted efforts between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fiji Rice Limited.

While launching the program in Dreketi, Macuata during a recent tour of the Northern Division, Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu acknowledged Fiji Rice Limited’s contribution towards the initiative because it would enhance the Government’s role of promoting and providing food and income security, for the benefit of Fijian communities.

“Let me thank you again and acknowledge the good work you are doing which will convert the opportunities we have into actions in order to realise social and economical benefits,” Mr Seruiratu said.

“With the launching of this project, it is a good indication that we are progressing and of course developing.”

Mr Seruiratu said the initiative – part of Government’s commitment to the Look North Policy – was creating opportunities for the people of Vanua Levu where agriculture was the main source of livelihood for the people.

“…And we need to open more doors so we can grow and expand in terms of agriculture production and marketing.”

Fiji Rice Limited general manager Ashrit Pratap said the company would extend its operations to rice farming with an aim to supplement the current rice supply.

“This is another historic occasion in the rice industry; we are trying to encourage a public-private partnership between two organizations and Fiji Rice is looking at cultivating, planting and harvesting idle farms on our own and after harvest, the costs will be recovered while proceeds are given back to the farmers,” Mr Pratap said.