Coconut replanting program under scrutiny

May 15, 2024 2:57 pm

[File Photo]

Farmers are facing significant challenges with requests primarily revolving around the need for copra driers and the need to increase the price of raw copra.

Acting Chief Executive Michael Lal has disclosed plans to seek assistance from Ministries and donors to acquire the necessary driers.

He also confirms discussions with stakeholders who have pledged budget allocations.

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Efforts are underway to submit proposals to the Ministry of Public Enterprise aimed at boosting the price of raw copra.

Addressing concerns over the effectiveness of the Coconut replanting program, Government MP Sakius Tubuna has questioned its traction on the ground.

In response, Lal outlined the program’s selection process which involves evaluations of farmers’ land availability and past replanting efforts.

“In between we do have our staff doing the monitoring of the farms, visiting the farms and ensuring that these plants are planted, we give them advice.”

Lal highlights that community engagement efforts have seen 25 visitations conducted this year, focusing on discussions regarding the replanting program and assessing village copra production and supply dynamics.

So far, 238 farmers have received 25,000 seedlings, with further inspections scheduled for May and June, entitling farmers to $10 per germination.

Since 2018, 63,300 coconut seedlings have been planted in Bua, Vanua Levu.

Plans are in place for companies to support farmers by addressing copra processing infrastructure and enhancing the raw copra price, aimed at enticing more young people into coconut farming.