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Press Releases - Fiji Govt Online Portal
Aug 29, 2008, 18:29

A team from the Ministry of Agriculture led by Field Officer Dreketi Jone Matawalu will visit Rabi this week with a view to explore the potential of growing rice there.

Mr Matawalu said the visit is a result of the request from the Rabi Island Council for a trial to be conducted on the island.

“Rice is the main staple of the people on Rabi and if they are able to grow their own rice, it would be of great value to them,” he said.

Mr Matawalu said islanders had indicated their interest and the Rabi Island Council sent a group of potential rice farmers to Dreketi to learn the basic techniques of rice cultivation three years ago.

“When there is interest amongst the islanders for the cultivation of this crop, I feel that our work will be easier and productive while on the island.”

Mr Matawalu explained that due to the lack of irrigation structures on the island, the technology used on rain fed areas will be explored.

While Rabi has potential flats for rice cultivation, Matawalu revealed that the flatland near Tabiang Village has been identified as the best to carry out the trials.

“A water source has been identified and because of its close proximity to the flatland, the water from the spring will be harnessed to provide the much needed water for the rice field,” he said.

Praising the interest of the islanders, Matawalu said that rice with its quick maturity period is a first-rate cash crop and if pursued with dynamism will have a high return for the islanders.

“ The cultivation of rice too on the island will ensure food security that can be a problem in the future due the rising food prices and the difficulty of islanders in accessing the urban centre on mainland Cakaudrove,” he said.

The team will also conduct training for budding farmers while on Rabi. This is in line with the Ministry’s objective which is to revitalize the rice farming in Fiji inline with Government’s plan to reduce imports.

The country last year imported 32.00metric tonnes of rice annually valued at $20 million.

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