In a bid to strengthen the export market the Ministry of Agriculture has launched the Beqa Variety Yellow Cassava at Nataleira Village Community Hall in Dawasamu, Tailevu yesterday.
While officiating at the launch yesterday, Minister for Agriculture Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy said the variety was in high demand, both in local and overseas markets as compared to the white varieties due to its huge consumer preferences.
“There are real opportunities in yellow cassava due to the huge market demand in Australia as per a recent survey, with serious interest from an importer in Australia who has indicated an estimated demand of 15 tonnes per week of yellow cassava,” said Minister Reddy.
This opportunity is significant for Fiji hence the growth in this variety would result in incremental export revenue for Fiji.
Yellow cassava is cultivated in Fiji, but not as widely as the white varieties of the Nadelei and New Guinea variety.
It takes eight to nine months to mature with an average yield of 25 to 28 tonnes per hectare. This variety is drought tolerant and survives in poor marginal soils, and thrives well in sandy and loam soils.
So far the Ministry of Agriculture has supplied 4,000 yellow cassava cuttings to farmers in Lomaivuna and 3,000 cuttings to the Navunisea and Delai farmers. These farmers are contracted under the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) to plant yellow cassava on a commercial level for the export market.