Fiji: Ministry hold talks for rehabilitation for farmers

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An urgent meeting attended by Heads of Departments of the Agriculture Ministry was held today at the Headquarters in Raiwaqa to determine the extent of damages to the agricultural sector after the country was hit by Cyclone Mick early last week.

In heading the discussions, Minister for Primary Industries, Mr. Joketani Cokanasiga said that the Department's priority will be to repair damaged infrastructures like sea-walls and drains in farming areas.

Mr. Cokanasiga also toured affected areas in Navua over the weekend and said that much needs to be done for the rehabilitation of farmers who lost out on income for the family.

Preliminary reports by the Department's extension officers in affected areas has estimated damages at $3.8million, with approximately 60 per cent damages to crops for the Western Division alone.

The Eastern Division was also affected by the cyclone with damages to infrastructure and crops estimated at $7.2million. Most of the damages were to yaqona farms.

Effects of the cyclone in the Northern Division were minor and according to preliminary reports only 10 per cent of the crops sustained damages with an estimated value of $567,200.

For the Central Division, the most affected areas were the highlands of Naitasiri, and upper Serua and Namosi.

Preliminary survey estimated damages at around 60 per cent of crops in the Central Division.

Crops planted on slopes were damaged by the cyclone while crops planted on the flats were damaged by the floods.

The estimated costs of damages to the Central Division can only be determined once a detailed assessment is carried out after all areas are accessible.

The Ministry is also working hand in hand with agencies in acquiring funding for the purchase of seeds and planting materials.

Damages to drainage infrastructure for both the Western and Central Divisions are estimated to be at $409,950. The Namulomulo Dam Construction in the West which was still under construction was partly washed away by the flood waters. Damages to the structure is estimated to be about $143,890.

For the Animal and Health Production Division, damages to infrastructure and livestock stand at an estimated value of $81,665.

Meanwhile a team of officers from the Western Division have left for the Yasawa group to carry out a detailed survey on the various crops that were damaged by the Cyclone.

A detailed report of the damages will be provided once a detailed assessment is carried out by ministry officials that are currently working in the affected areas around the country.