Sixty farmers were the first to receive their first tranche of the ‘Cash for Cultivation’ programme in the Northern Division from the Ministry of Agriculture thanks to the generous support of the New Zealand Government through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) on Tuesday (6.4.21).
In handing over the farmers letters of approval, Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy expressed his appreciation to the New Zealand Government and ADRA for assisting the farmers in their time of need following the devastation caused to their farms from TC Yasa and Ana.
“We want to thank our donors who came in the last minute to provide us with funds so that we can roll out this programme.”
“Thank you for coming to the aid of our Fijian farmers in their hour of need,” the Minister said.
Minister Reddy added it was a good day for farmers and also thanked them for taking part in the ‘Cash for Cultivation’ programme.
“I want to congratulate you for the hard work that you’ve done. We want to assure you that we will continue to support you,” he said.
The Minister urged farmers to continue farming and producing vegetables to ensure and maintain the country’s food security.
Forty four farmers in the Districts of Sasa, Macuata, and Seaqaqa were the first lot to receive the assistance, with the remaining 16 in the District of Dreketi also receiving theirs later the same day (6.4.21).
Ms Maude Whippy, 53, a farmer of over 15 years whose farm is in Saivou, Seaqaqa was the first woman farmer in the North to receive her first tranche of $75.
Speaking in i-Taukei, she expressed her gratitude for the timely assistance and being the only woman amongst her fellow male farmers made her feel proud and boosted her morale.
Ms Whippy said the assistance came at the right time following the destruction caused by TC Yasa and Ana and it would certainly help her rebuild her farm.
She said as a result she was motivated to increase her production.
Mr Mohammed Afzal Iqbal, 24, a farmer from Valelava took up the venture three years’ ago after deciding while he was employed in Suva, that it was better to do something about the 45 acres of freehold land that his family had in Vanua Levu.
“I am really thankful for the assistance given today. I am thanking the Minister for Agriculture for today and hoping the assistance will continue,” he said.
Mr Dhirendra Kumar, 53, a farmer from Malewai, in Dreketi expressed similar sentiments and added that TC Yasa blew the roof of his home off and he was slowly rebuilding.
“When the cyclone happened, my family sheltered under my floor, including my neighbours as well,” he said.
“My house is still not rebuilt, that’s why I am putting my all effort into farming so when I harvest then I can rebuild my home.”