13 Jun 2011

Fiji farmers being trained to re-enter rice production

3:48 pm on 13 June 2011

Fiji's agriculture ministry is re-training farmers who want to start growing rice again.

A prinicpal agriculture officer says the ongoing one day workshops teach farmers who stopped growing rice because it became too expensive how to grow a high-yielding crop at reasonable cost.

Uraia Waibuta says Indonesia has assisted with the training, which is part of Fiji's effort to achieve food security.

He says the aim's for Fiji to produce 60 percent of the 23 million US dollars worth of rice that's currently imported..

"We are not totally introducing rice as a mono crop to farmer. So it should be a supplementary crop and there should be other crops involved in order to get rice sustainable at a certain level. But as part of our programme we hope that by 2014 at least we can be self-sufficient at around that level."

Uraia Waibuta says the new rice growing methods are mechanised and as an incentive to farmers the government's subsidising the cost of machinery hire.