Reddy Tells: How Deal Helps Cassava Farmers on Ovalau
Farmers of Levuka will soon have the luxury of having their cassava bought directly from their farms. Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy told villagers in Viro that this was made possible after a request from businessman Ben Naidu for eight tonnes of cassava monthly. The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Agro Marketing Authority (AMA), are working with Mr Naidu to determine a suitable price.
“This means you don’t have to take your cassava to Suva, we will buy it here at your farm,” Mr Reddy said.
He said if the volume was big enough, they could also establish a collection centre.
The advantage with Ovalau was the short distance from the island to the mainland. Mr Reddy also urged farmers to work closely with agricultural officers about the kind of crop they should grow that has a potential market.
Tomasi Lakeba, a former Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) manager, resides outside the Viro Village boundary. He requested that they be considered in future projects. He was delighted to meet Mr Reddy and relay directly to him the challenges he and other residents outside the village boundary faced.
This included the inundation of water into their compounds.
Mr Lakeba said: “We are grateful that we are able to not just meet the Prime Minister but have the chance to meet other ministers as well.”
Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Mahendra Reddy with students of Viro Primary School on July 15, 2020.