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By SHRATIKA NAIDU
A group of Rabi Islanders from near Vanua Levu were in Dreketi last week on a five-day rice planting training.
The nine including one woman learnt to acquire the knowledge of using new rice farming machines and planting techniques.
The training was conducted by the Department of Agriculture in a bid to revive rice farming on the island.
Rabi Council of Leaders assistant youth officer and group team leader, Eritaia Tawaka said rice farming had stopped in 2008 because of financial constraints.
Four years later, the islanders decided to revive the farming to supplement their daily food source.
“My people stopped doing rice farming because they did not have machines, money and lacked training,” Mr Tawaka said.
“We decided to go back to rice farming because almost everyone eats rice daily.”
Mr Tawaka said over the years, the council was buying around two tonnes of rice weekly from Savusavu,” Mr Tawake said.
The price for one kilogram of rice on the island is $2.98 which is deemed costly for most islanders.
“Rice on the island is very expensive and in less supply,” Mr Tawake said. He said with this special training, they would return to the island and start farming again.
Principle agriculture officer northern, John Cox said the farmers were provided training on rice planting, harvesting skills and knowledge.
“The farmers do not have to bring their rice to the rice mill on the main land because we will provide them with a potable rice mill machine,” Mr Cox said. He said after the farmers successfully establish their farms then they would be provided with the machines.