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More Fijians venture into rice farming

November 20, 2020 5:43 am

More people are now venturing into rice farming following the COVID-19 crisis.

Fiji Rice Limited General Manager Ashrit Pratap says there have been interests from around the country especially the Western Division from those who have lost their jobs.

Pratap told FBC News, even cane farmers are going back to rice farming.

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This is basically from the Bua and Macuata area plus the whole of the Western Division. Central Division has been there – some new farmers are coming in, they have other option like planting Dalo and other crops. But in the cane belt areas, most of the farmers are now planting rice as well.

Pratap says this is encouraging as it will help the rice industry achieve its aim of reducing imports and be self-sufficient.

Pratap adds they are also working with 10 landowners on the utilisation of their idle land for rice farming.

This is done under a three-year joint venture agreement.

With these new farms along with several of their own in Bua, Dreketi, Seaqaqa and Labasa – Pratap says Fiji Rice Limited can expect another good year of production.

In the last financial year, Fiji Rice received a total of 1,322 tons of paddy – a record production for the last 15 years.

They expect the same this year.

Fiji Rice Limited has around 235 active farmers and Pratap says they expect the numbers to increase this year.

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