Bua

Agriculture ministry defends Bua rice project

The Ministry of Agriculture has refuted claims by some villagers in Bua that a rice project in the area was lying idle and unattended. Earlier this month, local media reported villagers of Natokalau Village in Kubulau, Bua, had told Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that, “the agriculture department’s $68,000 rice project was a waste”. Natokalau villager […]

Staff Writers

April 22, 2016 10:24 am

The Ministry of Agriculture has refuted claims by some villagers in Bua that a rice project in the area was lying idle and unattended.

Ministry's-acting-Director-Extension-Mr-Jone-Sovalawa
Ministry of Agriculture Acting Director Extension, Mr Jone Sovalawa.

Earlier this month, local media reported villagers of Natokalau Village in Kubulau, Bua, had told Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that, “the agriculture department’s $68,000 rice project was a waste”.

Natokalau villager Setefano Tubalevu had said the agriculture ministry had cultivated a piece of land in the village for rice planting.  He said this piece of land was today lying idle and unattended, and they were not sure whether the ministry was still keen on progressing the project.

Ministry of Agriculture Acting Director Extension, Mr Jone Sovalawa yesterday confirmed the project is at Nakorovou Village and not Natokalau Village as stated in the media reports.

He added the project was valued at $32,020 which included drainage construction and agro-inputs, and not $68,000.

Mr Sovalawa said that the demonstration farm of a quarter acre involved training on all rice husbandry practices and management.  The objective was for farmers in the village to have a thorough knowledge of rice farming and take ownership and continue with rice farming.

Mr Sovalawa added that the first harvest happened in 2015 with some 30 bags, which the farmers had agreed to use for home consumption.

However, the farmers could not afford the milling cost and consented for the produce to be stored by the Ministry’s station in Dama, to be processed later.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the mill was ready and the rice paddy still in the drying process and it was expected the rice would be milled in the coming week.

The Senior Agriculture Officer Bua, Mr Ilisoni Banuve also said that the complainant Mr Setefano Tubalevu was not involved at any stage in the project.

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