SUPPORT FOR BEEF INDUSTRY REITERATED TO TILIVALEVU FARMERS

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy has reiterated Government’s support towards Tilivalevu’s Beef Scheme.

During an informal talanoa session with beef farmers of Tilivalevu Village in Nadroga yesterday, Minister Reddy said with Government’s continued development programs, the onus was on them to expand and increase production.

“Developing the local livestock industry remains a key priority of the Ministry, especially beef, as Government continues in our efforts to reduce imports and produce locally for our own consumption as well as for the export markets.

“The livestock sector plays an important role as it contributes largely towards Fiji’s economy, and if you as farmers do your part and are serious in increasing production at the farm level, the agriculture sector will surely play an even more important role in Fiji’s economy in the coming years,” he added.

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Hon. Reddy also assured farmers that they would be compensated accordingly for animals found to have Tuberculosis (TB) and Brucellosis.

“Livestock disease compensation is paid to farmers for the culling of animals for diseases that the authorities identify under relevant legislation. These diseases are usually those that cause economic losses, risks to human health due to diseases being zoonotic (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice -versa) or diseases that can affect international trade markets.

The compensation is paid for the value of the culled animals, to help farmers in their rehabilitation or recovery efforts, and to encourage farmers to collaborate with the relevant authorities in their disease reporting, and disease eradication and control programmes.

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In addition, Hon. Reddy also encouraged farmers to consider producing crops on a large scale to supplement their livestock earnings; “You can diversify and plant market-oriented produce whereby you will decide on five to six crops and we will help you to start with that. The Ministry will link you directly to the market where the crops will be picked directly from the farm,” he said.

Assistance such as the upgrading of farm roads, irrigation systems and provision of clean water sources was relayed to the villagers during the talanoa session.

Meanwhile, there are currently 26 farmers who are utilising the Tilivalevu Beef Scheme project on a total land area of 2375.31 hectares with a total of 708 stock and 251 cows. The group also has 25 goat farmers with a total stock of 162. The cluster group currently supplies their beef and goat to local markets.