528 Farm­ers to Ben­e­fit from R2R

Fiji Sun - - SUNBIZ - WAISEA NASOKIA Feed­back: waisean@fi­jisun.com.fj

Ato­tal of 528 farm­ers across the coun­try will ben­e­fit from the GEF STAR Fiji Na­tional R2R project, which is sig­nif­i­cant in bio­di­ver­sity for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Wa­ter­ways and En­vi­ron­ment Ma­hen­dra Reddy made those com­ments at the launch of the Ridge - to Reef (R2R), Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture Project Com­po­nent 1 and 2 for Ba and Tuva Catch­ments at Le­galega Re­search Sta­tion, Nadi yes­ter­day.

Mr Reddy said: “Our bio­di­ver­sity is the her­itage for the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion. We only have to pro­tect it, if we don’t act now, we will in­evitably end up de­stroy­ing our fu­ture.

“Thus, pro­tected and avail­able for our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions in the same form as our an­ces­tors had be­queathed to us.”

The project cost $650, 000 and is part of the steps in­volved to ad­dress bio­di­ver­sity loss due to agricultur­al ac­tiv­ity.

“We want to see this sec­tor grow but we need to en­sure that our live­stock do not con­tam­i­nate the wa­ter­ways.”

The min­is­ter said they would pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for these farm­ers to pro­tect their live­stock through pro­vi­sion of fenc­ing ma­te­ri­als.

He added the project would be car­ried out in the six catch­ments; Ba, Labasa, Rewa/Waid­ina, Tunuloa, Tuva and Vu­ni­via where the Min­istry will as­sist 226 farm­ers in the western di­vi­sions, 226 in the north and 72 farm­ers in the cen­tral di­vi­sion.

“We will be also work­ing with farm­ers to fur­ther en­hance the bio­di­ver­sity of the catch­ments by plant­ing for­est tree species out­side the fence ar­eas to re­store and re­ha­bil­i­tate what has been dam­aged,” Mr Reddy said.

“The loss of for­est habi­tat is a lead­ing cause of species ex­tinc­tion, and re­for­esta­tion is one of two es­tab­lished in­ter­ven­tions for re­vers­ing this loss.

This re­for­esta­tion ef­fort will pro­tect the an­i­mals and re­build habi­tats.

Mr Reddy thanked GEF, UNDP and R2R projects, for recog­nis­ing the need to main­stream bio­di­ver­sity across sec­tors and be­ing prac­ti­cal on im­ple­ment­ing and be­ing prac­ti­cal on im­ple­ment­ing such ini­tia­tives through fund­ing and re­quired re­sources.

Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Wa­ter­ways and En­vi­ron­ment Ma­hen­dra Reddy (sec­ond from right; front row) with farm­ers at the launch of the Ridge to Reef (R2R), Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture Project Com­po­nent 1 and 2 for Ba and Tuva Catch­ments at Le­galega Re­search Sta­tion, Nadi on May 13, 2020.

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