FOUR rice farmers in Korokadi, Bua, are thinking twice about rice farming after losing their crop to dry weather.
Korokadi farmer Mohammed Yunus said despite pleading with the extension officer in the area for water, they were told the irrigation rehabilitation works were continuing and their rice would not be supplied water.
Mr Yunus said acres of rice went without water for more than a month until it wilted in the prevailing dry conditions.
“Personally, I have four tonnes of rice in my farm and I used to make a profit of $3000 from the sale of rice from this farm this year.
“The other three farmers like me will not be having any income from our rice harvest since our farms got damaged,” he said.
“This is a case of hard sweat swept in the drain, especially after personally spending $800 on manpower and preparation this season.”
Mr Yunus said the four farmers were thinking twice about continuing rice farming.
“Despite our requests with the agricultural rice extension officer, water was not given to us and water was finally restored to our farms on Saturday last week which is just too late.”
Principal agricultural officer North John Cox said the claims were not true.
Mr Cox said a report from the civil engineer North’s office stated they received the request for irrigation water from Mr Yunus in April.
He said irrigation rehabilitation works had begun in June and progressed for two weeks only.
“There has been no time when the irrigation system was closed for a month and farmers have been receiving water all this time,” Mr Cox said.
When The Fiji Times visited the farm last weekend, Mr Yunuis’s rice farm had wilted and dried up.
Source : Fijitimes Friday, August 21, 2015