Fiji: UNDP grants farmers rehab assistance

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The Ministry of Agriculture has today received a funding of $109,589.30 to facilitate rehabilitation works for Tropical Cyclone Mick in the form of seedlings, weedicides and planting materials from the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).

Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mason Smith said a total of 15,000 farmers in the Central and Western Divisions respectively will benefit from this rehabilitation program.

"The provision of the funding assistance was also used to procure 360,000 kumala cuttings at a cost of $18,000, 1320 litres of weedicides at a cost of $20,116.80 and vegetable seeds at a cost of $71,242.50. The rehab items are now received and ready to be distributed to identified affected farmers."

Mr Smith said the Extension Division of the Ministry has already setup a work program to ensure that the distribution of the assistance is done in a timely and transparent way to the affected farmers.

He adds some of the planting material (kumala cuttings) will be propagated in the Research Stations in the Central and Western Divisions to bulk up seed stock for future use and in times of disaster needs.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Knut Ostby said the funding is part of the overall assistance given to the Agriculture Ministry for the rehabilitation process.

"UNDP mobilized its internal funds and the first phase was to provide assessment of the impact, we saw the need for direct action and decided to allocate funds for the rehabilitation of the farmers. The funding includes more than two tonnes of seed materials to be distributed and we also assisted with advocacy materials in awareness of disasters in both local languages," Mr Ostby said.

Mr Smith said the total cost for crop rehabilitation works under Cyclone Mick was $874,839.800, however the immediate need of affected farmers is the provision of planting materials to address food security and income generation.