The livestock industry in the Northern Division is earmarked to become the hub for the sector in the country.
This was shared by Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy during an informal talanoa session with the farmers of Laqere, Tabia in Labasa.
“The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to stimulate the growth of the livestock sector and will promote for increased beef, sheep and goat farming in Vanua Levu, for that we will give farmers the start-up material for fencing and paddock,” Minister Reddy said.
“After the first start-up assistance, we want you to expand on your own through investment from your farm.
“We want Vanua Levu to be the hub of livestock production in Fiji. We will establish abattoir’s from Bua to Wainikoro, soon after we see that production is increasing and farmers have shown interest in livestock farming.”
Minister Reddy assured farmers would be linked directly to the markets as they would no longer have to worry about the markets and transportation as it would be picked from their farm gate adding that though prices may fluctuate, it would be reviewed annually.
He elaborated that the project would commence later in the year or early next year at the latest, stating that plans were already in place by the Ministry of Agriculture to implement the program.
Meanwhile Dr. Reddy has also cautioned farmers who slaughtered and sold meat without certification and following the proper process.
“All the livestock meat that is sold in the market should be certified and should go through the abattoirs. It is illegal to slaughter an animal, even for family or home consumption which is not certified or does not go through an abattoir,” he said.
“For meats which are sold in shops, this will be confiscated by the meat inspector if it does not go through an abattoir and has no proper certification as Government does not want to put any one’s health at risk by consuming meat which does not go through a proper slaughterhouse,” said Minister Reddy.