FARMERS ADVISED TO TAKE PROPER CARE OF FARM DRAINS

Farmers and the general public are advised to refrain from damaging drainage systems done by Government to allow for better water flow and avoid flooding during heavy downpour.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy during an informal talanoa session with farmers of Doguru community yesterday.

Minister Reddy while responding to issues raised by farmers on drainage and farm access roads said Government had invested resources and public funds to provide drainage works on farms, with the onus on farming communities to take good care of them.

He highlighted instances whereby some farmers planted dalo and cassava in and along recently dug drains which in turn clogged water, defeating the purpose of the drainage work and contradicted requests for drainage received by Government authorities from farming communities.

“Crops must be planted at least three meters away from the drains and you should also maintain the farm access roads when upgrading and maintenance works have been completed.

Hon. Reddy reiterated the Ministry’s stance towards promoting commercial agriculture; “Government remains committed to assisting all farmers and we will not focus on assisting just one farmer on numerous occasions, use Government’s support to expand and grow on your own,” he said.

“Government wants agriculture to expand, to increase exports and reduce import thus we cannot depend on part-time and leisure farmers, so farmers need to be passionate about taking up farming as a business,” he said.

Hon. Reddy also advised rice farmers to cultivate high yielding locally improved rice varieties, Sitara and Cagivou, and to focus their efforts and attempt to plant and harvest these varieties two to three times per year as traditional rice varieties yielded less.