The wellbeing of Fijians in rural and maritime areas remains a key priority of the Fijian Government as a building-block for continued growth.
As the hub of critical primary economic activities such as agriculture, these rural and maritime communities play a critical role in the country’s overall development agenda.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Waterways, Environment and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy while commissioning a multipurpose irrigation project for Vuqele farmers in Tavua today.
While speaking at the event, Minister Reddy said the project would enhance farming activities within the Vuqele settlement, ensuring the community would also actively contribute toward the growth and expansion of the agriculture sector.
The need for easy accessibility to water for rural communities as a determinant of people’s livelihoods through agricultural production, socio-economic development, and environmental protection was noted by Minister Reddy.
“Our government is committed to creating a critical infrastructure in rural areas through which we sustain rural agriculture production,” said Dr. Reddy.
Minister Reddy reiterated that irrigation projects will boost farming activities for the settlement and benefit more than eighty farmers, determining the sustenance of livelihoods through food and agriculture production.
“This project will assist in better organising rural farmers through cluster farming, provision of extension services, farm-access roads, irrigation, mechanisation, marketing support, and export development,” said Dr. Reddy.
The $30,684.43 Vuqele Multipurpose Irrigation Project will benefit more than eighty farmers in the settlement and assist them to cultivate crops, increase yield, improve soil fertility and livestock production.
Meanwhile, 49-year-old Vuqele resident, Mr. Dharmesh Chand, a livestock and crop farmer acknowledged the Government’s assistance as it would further boost farming activities in Vuqele settlement.
“Farmers had started to lose hope as we had to deal with dead livestock and rotten crops due to the impact of drought,” said Mr. Chand.
“The irrigation project now means that farmers will not have to worry about livestock dying or crops being rotten as their problem has now been solved through the Waterways ministry,” he said.