3 Feb 2012

The effects of farming practices on the Fiji flood aftermath investigated

6:51 am on 3 February 2012

Authorities in Fiji are investigating whether farming practices contributed to the magnitude of damage and landslides, following the recent floods.

A 26-year old man died this week when he was reportedly bathing in a river and was caught in debris and drowned, bringing the death toll to seven.

The Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Mason Smith, says it would be premature to comment on the reason for the abundance of scattered debris left behind as the waters have receded.

"With any flooding soil erosion is always an issue. We will have to look at our land use policy. The national controller for Disaster Management will do his own assessment and submit the report to the prime minister and cabinet. I don't think it's a blame game here, I think government will sit down and look at the whole issue holistically."

Mr Smith says the department is also investigating whether farmers are adhering to rules regarding buffer zones - where they cannot cut from banks and waterways.