The Fiji Times » Call for Koro island to go organic – Fiji Times

Fiji Department of Information
4 May, 2022, 7:46 am
Vatulele villagers planting coconut trees. Picture: SUPPLIED
Farmers on the island of Koro in the Lomaiviti Group are being urged to revise their farming practices and progressively implement more environmentally friendly and organic farming practices.
This is in a bid to emulate the organic status of two islands in the Eastern Division, namely Rotuma and Cicia, the only two certified organic islands in the country, which were part of the overall Koro Island agriculture development plans of the Ministry of Agriculture.
While speaking to villagers of Vatulele Village and Nasau Village in Koro during a recent trip to the island, Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy highlighted the need to do away with reliance on inorganic fertilizers and chemicals.
“Koro gives a different image to our agricultural commodities, the image our crops from Koro gives in the external market – in the export market is unique, the commodities coming out of the Eastern Division gives a different and separate brand image to our commodities whether it be dalo or cassava, kava or other commodities, particularly those which can be supplied by our competitor countries like Vanuatu (kava), Samoa (dalo).
“Given that we have this pristine environment, we’ve got a different brand image for our commodities in our export destination countries and this gives us a leverage and price to our commodities and we want to maintain that brand image,” said Dr Reddy.
“When we’re talking about the brand image, we also want Koro to be an organic island like Rotuma and Cicia, Rotuma is now a purely organic island, no fertilizers or chemicals are used on Rotuma,” he added.
“We want Koro to go organic in agriculture, the dalo should be organic, the kava should be organic, and it does not require a big effort and we will assist. Once you’ve been certified as an organic island, you can market your dalo, yaqona and all produce from here as organic produce and it fetches a good price.
He said that the Ministry would partner with the small poultry farm on the island to assist them and in return collect all the poultry manure to help establish the island’s organic manure.
Dr Reddy also elaborated that the Ministry had developed a local liquid organic fertilizer, Bacterium Culture that could be applied either directly to their farms or can be used to assist in composting and later applied to their farms.
Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people as it relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.
The Ministry of Agriculture is actively promoting its Organic Initiative, the main objective of which was to reduce the consumption of synthetic or chemical fertilizers in Fiji.
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