16 Feb 2012

Call for Fiji farmers to strengthen sustainable practices

11:32 am on 16 February 2012

Farmers in Fiji's Western Division are being urged to strengthen sustainable practices following flooding last month that destroyed more than four million US dollars' worth of crops.

More than 4,000 farmers are awaiting prolonged dry weather to start replanting with seeds provided by donors and the Ministry of Primary Industries.

The ministry's director of extension says re-establishing food security crops is the priority and replanting those for export will come later.

Uraia Waibuta says at least the floods deposited silt that's highly fertile onto farms but that degree of soil erosion could have been avoided.

"Most of the forests on the hills had been cut down, most of the trees along the river banks had also been removed, so these are some of the contributing factors which also add to the flood. So I'm just trying to advise farmers, please, try and avoid cutting trees along the riverbanks and also replant trees that had been removed from the hills."

Uraia Waibuta says both the forestry and agriculture ministries have a role to play in encouraging farmers to go back into planting trees.