MOA signing to boost rice production

June 3, 2023 4:15 pm

[Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways Fiji/ Facebook]

Rice production is increasing in the Western Division and could grow further with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement this week.

Minister for Agriculture and Waterways Vatimi Rayalu signed the MOA with the Fiji Rice Limited to boost production and increase the market for Fiji rice.

Rayalu says Fiji rice is currently gaining momentum in the local market and there are hopes to see it in the export market someday.

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Fiji Rice Ltd Chair Raj Sharma says 40,000 metric tonnes of rice is imported into the country annually and the aim is to decrease this figure by 11 percent.

[Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways Fiji/ Facebook]

“Once the momentum increases, then we can look to fully fledge operational mills because we need to encourage the farmers first to plant. This is what we are also asking the government, some level of assistance to come to the farmers on a subsidy base of fertilizers, weedicides and these things should be restored.”

Sharma adds during the last financial year, 379 farmers planted rice on 210 hectares in the Western Division and produced 684 tonnes of paddy.

Meanwhile Rayalu says under the China-Aid Rice Development Programme, the government of China handed over a rice mill, a rice winnower and processing machine to the ministry in 2021, which will be transferred to Fiji Rice Ltd.

[Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways Fiji/ Facebook]

The minister says these equipment will assist in the establishment and operation of the rice mill in Nailaga, Ba.

Sharma says Fiji Rice Ltd collected 100 tonnes of paddy last year from farmers in Rakiraki, Ba and Sigatoka as well as from the Yaqara Pastoral Company Ltd.