EU hands over 34,550 seedlings to boost agri­cul­ture sec­tor

Over half a mil­lion seeds al­to­gether to be pro­vided as part of $10m as­sis­tance for the in­dus­try

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - Feed­back: waisean@fi­jisun.com.fj EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL WAISEA NA­SOKIA NADI

The Euro­pean Union yes­ter­day handed over 34,550 seedlings to the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture at the Devesh Nurs­eries in Vo­tualevu, Nadi. This was in a bid to boost our agri­cul­ture sec­tor which was badly hit by the Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston. In the af­ter­math of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston, the EU the past month an­nounced an ini­tial $10 mil­lion as­sis­tance for our agri­cul­ture sec­tor that will be ad­min­is­tered by Pa­cific Com­mu­nity (SPC). EU Am­bas­sador to the Pa­cific Andrew Ja­cobs said the project will in­clude over half mil­lion seeds pro­vided through the pro­gramme. “These seedlings are be­ing pro­duced by the Pa­cific Com­mu­nity (SPC) through its Im­prove­ment of Key Ser­vices to Agri­cul­ture (IKSA) project that is funded by the EU,” he said. Mr Ja­cobs this will boost the farmer and their re­spec­tive farms to re­turn to their feet and as­sist the lo­cal econ­omy as well.

“This is the first batch of seedling of toma­toes, pa­paya, egg­plants and other range of fruits and veg­eta­bles made avail­able through the farm­ers in few weeks time an­other 204,000 and later an­other 204,000.”

SPC Act­ing Deputy Di­rec­tor Dr Ken Cokanasiga said: “The IKSA project is all about de­vel­op­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties in hor­ti­cul­tural and within the sugar belt ar­eas, through re­search and as­sist­ing farm­ers to ven­ture into hor­ti­cul­tural crops.”

“We’re as­sist­ing forestry and fish­eries sec­tors’ dam­age as­sess­ments and pro­vid­ing ad­vice to the live­stock sec­tor on the ap­pro­pri­ate dis­posal of dead an­i­mals, an­i­mal dis­ease con­trol con­sid­er­a­tions and pro­vi­sion of vet­eri­nary ser­vices to af­fected an­i­mals.” Act­ing Agri­cul­ture Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Uraia Waibuta, on be­half of the Gov­ern­ment, thanked the EU and SPC. He said: “This sup­port could not come at a much bet­ter time than this when our peo­ple are in dire need of fast ma­tur­ing crops and quick cash crops to help them bounce back from the dev­as­ta­tions ef­fects of TC Win­ston.” Mr Waibuta said this as­sis­tance will surely sup­ple­ment the sup­ply of seeds and Ku­mala cutting pro­vided by the Min­istry. “This sup­port to help us get Fiji back to its path of eco­nomic growth, how­ever, we can only do that with col­lec­tive ef­forts and today’s oc­ca­sion is the true tes­ta­ment of that,” he said. Mean­while, an­other 8330 seedlings are also ready to be dis­patched for the North­ern Divi­sion.

Photo: WAISEA NA­SOKIA

EU Am­bass­dor to the Pa­cific, Andrew Ja­cobs, hands over the seedling to Act­ing Agri­cul­ture Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Uraia Waibuta, at

Vo­tualevu, Nadi yes­ter­day.

Photo: WAISEA NA­SOKIA

From left: Act­ing Agri­cul­ture Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Uraia Waibuta, Mrs Ja­cobs, EU Am­bas­sador to the Pa­cific, Andrew Ja­cobs, and

Nurs­ery owner, Devesh Nath, at Vo­tualevu, Nadi yes­ter­day.

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