Rice production at Fiji Rice has increased with a notable 1,680 tonnes produced last year.
This was revealed by the Fiji Rice Chairman Mr Raj Sharma while briefing the Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Hon. Sakiusa Tubuna during a tour of the company in Labasa and Dreketi last week (11th January,2023).
Mr Sharma informed the Assistant Minister that the mills used to struggle but since last year, production has drastically increased.
He attributed this positive record to the collective efforts of the farmers, government and the public enterprise.
As part of the company’s transformation plan, Mr Sharma said they aim to have more farm machines, land development, weedicide and technical support and also to work closely with the government for funding assistance to support new rice farming areas.
On milling, Mr Sharma said they plan to have new mills in Dreketi and in Ba, five electric dryers and major mill upgrade works.
He assured the Assistant Minister that they will work with the government to revitalise the rice industry as there is still a need to progressively reduce Fiji’s reliance on imported rice.
Assistant Minister Tubuna said the coalition government will continue to support the rice industry in Fiji.
He said farmers are also a critical part of the industry and they also need to be supported in order to lower Fiji’s rice import bill as well as other food import bills.
“We need to work together to help drive up local food production and strengthen food security for every Fijian,” he said.
“We have to understand that there multiple shocks that we have encountered such as the impact of COVID-19, the high food and fuel prices, and climate change, to name a few.
“Agriculture is an industry that we need to sustain and should ensure that our people have adequate food supply and also agricultural means that can generate income for them.”
Meanwhile, the Assistant Minister also visited the Food Processors Fiji Limited in Batiri where he was also briefed on the current operations of its Batiri Citrus farm.
The farm has a replanting programme that aims to sustain production.
He also visited the Fiji Coconut Millers PTE Limited in Savusavu.