REVITALISING THE COCONUT INDUSTRY A KEY PRIORITY AREA FOR AGRICULTURE MINISTRY

Returning the coconut industry to its former glory days remains a key priority area for the Ministry of Agriculture.

With 2021 being declared the Year of the Coconut, there are programmes spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture to help revive the coconut industry and increase the geographical concentration of coconut supplying areas as an attempt to re-establish coconut as a viable and lucrative option for farmers nationwide.

This was highlighted to farmers from Qeleloa, Uciwai and Sariyawa in Nadi on Wednesday this week by the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy during informal talanoa sessions organised with farmers of Nadi.

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“If you want to plant coconut, please express your interest and we will supply the planting material. This year has been declared as the Year of Coconut and we are trying our best to revive the coconut industry.

“At the moment, coconut planting is largely being concentrated and being harvested from the Northern Division, particularly from Cakaudrove province and we want to advance the coconut industry by increasing the number of coconut growing areas to help sustain the industry,” Minister Reddy said.

He said upon a farmer’s indicated interest to grow coconuts, the Ministry would provide the required planting material at no cost to the farmer.

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On a separate note, Minister Reddy also elaborated on the need for farmers to consider planting pigeon pea and rice to help ease the burden of meeting the dietary needs and food requirements of families, as all of these agricultural programmes were simultaneously geared towards ensuring the food security of all Fijian households.

The Minister also heard of various concerns raised by these farming communities, with similar discussions held across the country recently to help address the immediate issues that were a deterrent to the development and growth of farming clusters and individual farmers respectively.