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Minister empowers rural youths in agriculture
03
Aug '09
The Minister for Primary Industries, Mr Joketani Cokanasiga is calling on the youths of the country to strengthen their capabilities as farmers.

Speaking to various youth groups while touring the island of Ovalau last week, Mr Cokanasiga stressed to the youths that agriculture still plays an important role in the country.

“As farmers, you have to be consistent with increasing export volumes of agricultural goods to increase foreign earnings and thereby improving our nation's economy,” he said.

“This Government is working hard to ensure that youths are assisted especially in agriculture as they will be the ones to carry on with agricultural practices to the generations to come,” explained Mr Cokanasiga.

Mr Cokanasiga also said that the Government is looking at landowners to also toil their land and not leave it idle as more can be earned from the land.

Mr Cokanasiga was also impressed with the youth groups on the island that have been forging ahead with their farming without assistance from anyone.

“This just shows the determination that they have in achieving their end goals as they do not want to waste time but make something of it by providing for their families needs and in turn helping the economy.”

Several youth groups on the island have been assisted under the Ministry's Rural and Outer Island Programme and were given planting materials, chemicals, fertiliser as well as roofing iron for building their farm house in their farm locality.

ROI is an integrated market driven agricultural assistance programme targeting progressive farmers, farmer groups or agribusiness in crop, livestock or value added production that meet market demand.

It is about the development of sustainable farming and agro based enterprises that meet the market demand. An enterprise can take a range of structural forms, including: individuals; partnerships; households; special interest groups (e.g. youth, women, church); a registered co-operative; a registered company; or a traditional grouping (e.g. mataqali, tokatoka and village).

The programme is not about handouts to beneficiaries, but is about empowering them with a view to future sustainability of the farm or agribusiness enterprises.

Individuals, farmer groups or agribusiness operators that would like to be assisted under the programme will need to consult with the relevant agriculture locality officers and go through the required project identification processes before the submission of project proposals to the Ministry of Agriculture.

“Please work together with the agricultural officers here on the island as they will be able to advise you on the various practical methods of agricultural production,” said Mr Cokanasiga.

Youth groups on the island have been consistently planting dalo and yaqona on semi-commercial and commercial levels with most supplying their produce to export agents.

Fiji Government

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