Rice farmers raise concerns

RICE farmers from Dreketi and Macuata raised concerns about flooded rice fields during a talanoa session with Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya last Friday at the Muanidevo Primary School in Dreketi.

About 40 farmers attended the talanoa session.

In voicing their concerns, Epeli Rasesere of Dreketi said flooded rice fields had been a continuing issue.

“We have requested for a 20 by 18 inch culvert from the Ministry of Waterways and we hope that with today’s talanoa session, something good will come out of it,” he said.

Mr Rasesere said they raised their concern so many times, but nothing was done to solve the flooding issue.

“We need to get something done to help us maintain our rice fields from getting flooded during heavy rain,” he said.

“One of the main problems that we have is the culvert sizes that are being used. It’s small and easily gets blocked during heavy rain.”

Dreketi farmer Laisenia Tulagi said another issue was poor farm roads at Matasawalevu.

“We have seen that a lot of places around Vanua Levu have received Government assistance and their roads have been upgraded, but we have been left out from this assistance,” he claimed.

Mr Tulagi said they also raised the issue with Government and were still waiting for a response.

“We hope that after tonight’s talanoa session, our issues will be addressed,” he said.

Mr Koya reassured the farmers that he would look into their concerns.

“Give me all the concerns and issues that you have and we will follow it up and get back to you,” he said.

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