TC Winston

Crop and livestock council to assist affected farmers

The Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) had the opportunity last week to listen to registered commodity farmer members on the challenges Tropical Cyclone Winston imposed on their respective commodities. The Farmers’ National Committee Association’s planning workshop that was held in Suva turned into a needs assessment for the heads of national commodity associations and […]

Peni Shute

March 20, 2016 2:11 pm

The Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) had the opportunity last week to listen to registered commodity farmer members on the challenges Tropical Cyclone Winston imposed on their respective commodities.

Commodity crop and livestock farmers assess their relief and economic recovery needs at a national planning workshop that was held at the Southern Cross Hotel in Suva last week. Photo: FCLC Media.
Commodity crop and livestock farmers assess their relief and economic recovery need at a national planning workshop that was held at the Southern Cross Hotel in Suva last week. (Fiji Crop and Livestock Council).

The Farmers’ National Committee Association’s planning workshop that was held in Suva turned into a needs assessment for the heads of national commodity associations and member farmers.

FCLC Chairman Simon Cole said the dialogue provided a very structured and common sense approach to the economic recovery of the agricultural sector for all the commodities that FCLC represents.

We’ll be able to then work with the authorities and the people distributing the aid and planning the economic recovery. FCLC will ensure the voice of the farmers is considered in the middle of this recovery process.

Impact levels varied according to the geographical areas that were thumped by Cyclone Winston. Non-sugar commodities dalo, yaqona, cocoa, ginger, coconuts, grazing livestock (sheep, goats, beef), and beekeepers are situated in zones badly affected by the cyclone.

The areas are Taveuni, Cakaudrove, Bua, Koro, Gau, Lau, Naitasiri, Ra, and Tailevu.

Affected farmers highlighted the need to repair or newly build farm structures, source seeds and animals to replenish lost crop and livestock, and fertilisers.

FCLC received last week a donation of $140,000 from its New Caledonian counterpart, Chamber of Agriculture to assist the Council’s relief efforts.

Meanwhile, there were calls by the commodity farmers to source plant and animal resources from the largely unaffected areas in the country. Biosecurity of Fiji (BAF), however, have implemented measures related to the transfer of crops and livestock between Fiji’s borders.

BAF is advising farmers wishing to transfer planting materials from unaffected areas to affected areas to seek advice from BAF or the Ministry of Agriculture.

The same advice goes for farmers contemplating the movement of live livestock animals from unaffected to affected areas.

In the case of dalo, there is a concern for the spread of the existing quarantine declared taro beetle. For yaqona, the dieback disease related to kava crops is an issue. The high occurrence of new pests and diseases brought on by natural disasters was also highlighted at the workshop.

As the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, prepares its final agriculture assessment, Mr Cole said that the Fiji Crop & Livestock Council will use the final assessment for their response to their farmers.

Will use the final assessment as the basis of our response to how we need to interact with our farmers and how we should plug in to the various options.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.