Farmers in the Western Division were recognised for their contributions towards the development of the economy.
The Ministry of Agriculture acknowledged farmers with awards for their commitment and hard work throughout the years at the Tokatoka Resort in Nadi on November 10, 2017 as part of the 2017 Western Agriculture Show.
Twenty seven (27) farmers from the four provinces within the Western Division were rewarded with awards in the ranges of crop, livestock and overall awards.
Officiating at the event, Assistant Minister for Agriculture Hon. Viam Pillay thanked the farmers for their contribution towards the agriculture sector in their respective farming methodologies from crops through to livestock farming.
“Government acknowledges the efforts of all our farmers as your partnership is vital in providing our people food and nutritional security as well as contributing to increased agriculture export and providing the required materials for agro industries to support the employment and livelihood of many communities which is critical for the economic development of our country,” Assistant Minister Pillay said.
“The Farmers Award is an initiative taken by the Ministry of Agriculture to acknowledge your roles and achievements as it also shines the spotlight on you.”
Assistant Minister Pillay also reminded farmers of the drastic effects of climate change and called on them to adapt mitigating practices for the benefit of their respective farms.
“With this year’s Agriculture Show theme reflecting “Climate Smart Agriculture for Fiji”, I wish to remind you all at the outset of the need to implement resilient and sustainable agricultural practices for climate adaptation and mitigation. The threat posed by climate change is all encompassing, affecting all sectors and sadly enough, the agriculture sector is not exempt.”
“So in light of this ever increasing danger, all stakeholders must focus attention on the need for the implementation of adaptation mechanisms for the sector amidst the challenges caused by the phenomena, climate change,” he added.
Assistant Minister Pillay said farmers played a significant role in terms of economic development in the country.
“Your efforts in partnership with Government in the provision of food security, increasing agriculture exports and providing the raw materials for agro industries to support employment and livelihood of many communities is critical for the economic development of our beloved nation,” he added.
Keresoni Waqa of Soa Village, Ra was awarded the Best Dalo Farmer Award, Rafaele Raidroni of Dama, Ra was awarded the Best Ginger Farmer, Savenaca Salili received the Best Yaqona Farmer, Jaweli Naluaikaba was awarded the Best Potato Farmer, Jone Madrai received the Best Yam Farmer, Manueli Vakarilala was awarded the Best Banana Farmer, Ahmad Khan received the Best Papaya Farmer award, Imataz Ali received the Best Pineapple Farmer Award, Suneel Kumar received the Best Rice Farmer award, Robert Sanjay of Burenitu received the Best Vegetable Farmer award, Pranil Bhai received the Best Farm Practice Award, Ritesh Sharma received the Best Backyard Farmer award, with Mr and Mrs Nawaitauvou of Navotua in Yasawa receiving the Best Value Adding Farmer award, Kelera Kau’ata of Lautoka received the Best Floriculture Farmer award, Sakeasi Tikowale of Vadrayawasewa, Ba received the Best Sustainable Land Management Farmer award, Laisenia Namosimalua received the Best Pig Farmer award, with Samisoni Manewa receiving the Best Sheep Farmer award, Bal Ram received the Best Dairy Farmer award, Mohammed Shahim received the Best Beef Farmer award, Jiten Kumar was awarded the Best Goat Farmer, Navetakan Aujula awarded the Best Broiler Farmer, Rakesh Prasad received the Best Duck Farmer award and Nilesh Kumar received the Best Apiculture Farmer award.
The special awards included Young Farmer of the Year which was awarded to Mikaele Tanalewa, Woman Farmer of the Year being awarded to Asenaca Salacagi and Western Division Farmer of the Year Award in the crops category awarded to Dharmend Kumar and Western Division Farmer of the Year Award in the livestock category being awarded to Navekatan Aujula.