Ir­ri­ga­tion Project to Boost Farm­ing Ac­tiv­i­ties in Vuqele Set­tle­ment

Fiji Sun - - NATION -

The well­be­ing of Fi­jians in ru­ral and mar­itime ar­eas re­mains a key pri­or­ity of the Fi­jian Govern­ment as a build­ing block for con­tin­ued growth.

As the hub of crit­i­cal pri­mary eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties such as agri­cul­ture, these ru­ral and mar­itime com­mu­ni­ties play a crit­i­cal role in the coun­try’s over­all de­vel­op­ment agenda.

This was high­lighted by the Min­is­ter for Wa­ter­ways, En­vi­ron­ment and Agri­cul­ture Ma­hen­dra Reddy while com­mis­sion­ing a mul­ti­pur­pose Ir­ri­ga­tion project for Vuqele farm­ers in Tavua yes­ter­day.

While com­mis­sion­ing the project, Mr Reddy said it would en­hance farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties within the Vuqele Set­tle­ment, en­sur­ing the com­mu­nity would also ac­tively con­trib­ute to­wards the growth and ex­pan­sion of the agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

The des­per­ate need for easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity to wa­ter for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties as a de­ter­mi­nant of peo­ple’s liveli­hoods through agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion was noted by Mr Reddy.

“Our Govern­ment is com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing a crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture in ru­ral ar­eas through which we sus­tain ru­ral agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion,” said Mr Reddy.

He re­it­er­ated that the $30,684.43 Vuqele Mul­ti­pur­pose Ir­ri­ga­tion Project would boost farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties for the set­tle­ment and ben­e­fit more than 80 farm­ers, de­ter­min­ing the sus­te­nance of liveli­hoods through food and agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion.

High­light­ing the po­ten­tial con­tri­bu­tion farm­ers could have on the agri­cul­ture sec­tor, Mr Reddy em­pha­sised that wa­ter­ways ser­vice sub­sidises fun­da­men­tally to com­mer­cial agri­cul­ture con­tribut­ing dra­mat­i­cally to­wards Fiji’s econ­omy.

“This project will as­sist in bet­ter or­gan­is­ing ru­ral farm­ers through clus­ter farm­ing, pro­vi­sion of ex­ten­sion ser­vices, farm-ac­cess roads, ir­ri­ga­tion, mech­a­ni­sa­tion, mar­ket­ing sup­port, and ex­port de­vel­op­ment,” said Mr Reddy.

Vuqele res­i­dent Dharmesh Chand, 49, ac­knowl­edged the Govern­ment as­sis­tance.

“Farm­ers had started to lose hope on farm­ing be­cause dozens of live­stock were dy­ing and tons of crops went bad due to the im­pacts of drought,” said Mr Chand.

“With this ir­ri­ga­tion project, the farm­ers now will no longer have to worry about their stock or crops dur­ing the drought.

“This will al­low farm­ers in the set­tle­ment to grow their crops or live­stock at com­mer­cial level as their worst anx­i­ety which was the wa­ter prob­lem is now solved by the govern­ment through the Wa­ter­ways Min­istry,” he said

From left: Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for Min­istry of Wa­ter­ways and En­vi­ron­ment Joshua Wy­cliffe with the Min­is­ter for Wa­ter­ways, En­vi­ron­ment and Agri­cul­ture Ma­hen­dra Reddy at the com­mis­sion­ing of the Mul­ti­pur­pose Ir­ri­ga­tion Project for Vuqele Set­tle­ment on August 6, 2020.

Min­is­ter for Wa­ter­ways, En­vi­ron­ment and Agri­cul­ture Ma­hen­dra Reddy dur­ing a prayer ses­sion at the com­mis­sion­ing of the Mul­ti­pur­pose Ir­ri­ga­tion Project for Vuqele Set­tle­ment on August 6, 2020.

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