In Fiji:

October 21, 2022, 10:00 am
Business, Fiji News

Agriculture sector shows no sign of slowing down – PM

Fiji One News Team
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Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama visited the Navuso Agricultural Technical Institute yesterday to launch the school’s Bamford Student Farmers Scheme.

The Navuso Agricultural Technical Institute (NATI) was recently registered and accredited with the Fiji Higher Education Commission as the provider for the Certificate in Agriculture (Integrated) – Level 4.

PM Bainimarama stated that the Fijian Government is focused on ensuring the livelihood of every Fijian farmer by trying to secure as much as possible production and value chains; thereby also protecting the food security of every Fijian woman, man, girl and boy.

“It is as part of this commitment that I am proud to launch NATI’s Bamford Student Farm Scheme today – a $150,000 fully Government-funded project to train and encourage the next generation of farmers.

Through practical, hands-on work, students will be introduced to regenerative agriculture and sustainable climate smart agriculture, and will learn about effective time management, farm plans, work programs, irrigation systems, basic e-commerce and generally how to treat farming as a business and effectively cultivate their land resource.”

The Head of Government encouraged every Fijian, especially women to engage in agri-business practices as this can be viewed as a lucrative career option. The 27 initiatives launched by the Ministry of Agriculture in August are worth more than $29.2m as direct assistance packages to support first-time farmers in their production and export efforts.

“I challenge our organisers to reach out and make this opportunity known to more women in our communities. We all know that being well trained is sometimes not enough to start and grow a sustainable cash-generating business. Entrepreneurs need capital. This is why every student that completes all requirements for the course will receive a full $25,000 in working capital to return home with and start their own farming business. This is not a loan and there are no strings attached; it is an investment by my Government in Fiji’s future farmers, the Fijian economy, and our people.”

“I want to take this time to encourage all farmers here today to grab this opportunity with both hands and apply for the announced Initiatives – especially our women and youth farmers. Fiji’s Agriculture sector is growing rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down.”

Also through sustainable land management best practices, each student at the NATI will plant 100 fruit trees and 100 native tree forest species over the duration of the course. This initiative also supports Fiji’s efforts in the fight against climate change.

PM Bainimarama also had the opportunity to tour the institution’s classrooms and workshops to see the practical studies that the students are enrolled in.