The Ministry of Agriculture is looking to reduce the load of fertilizers and pesticides on rice farms.
While addressing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Affairs yesterday, Permanent Secretary Dr Vinesh Kumar says the ministry will soon introduce new varieties of rice to be grown in Fiji which are also resilient to pests and diseases.
“We are working on certain varieties that are resistant to known pests and diseases so that we do not load a lot of these pesticides in the system. We are also working with farmers in terms of relooking at their cultural practices so that they could use mechanical weeding as well as use people to pull out rice, rather than use selective weedicides.”
Kumar says the ministry is encouraging more farmers to venture into rice farming by targeting youth and people living in villages.
He says works are underway to move from irrigated rice farming to rain-fed varieties.