Municipalities do not have a budget for clearing and maintaining drains - Rayalu
No govt has done more than FijiFirst – Nand

Municipalities do not have a budget for clearing and maintaining drains - Rayalu

No govt has done more than FijiFirst – Nand

By Karishma Kumari
Tuesday 16/04/2024
Agriculture Minister Vatimi Rayalu and Opposition MP Sachida Nand Photo: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji

The Municipalities currently do not have a budget for clearing and maintaining drains however the Ministry of Agriculture will work closely with the Local government on how this can be accommodated under the current budget as they need to consult on future budgeting as well.

While delivering his Ministerial statement, Agriculture Minister Vatimi Rayalu says the Ministry of Agriculture has allocated $1.5 million for the drainage of farmland areas to tackle the impact of flooding including the Sigatoka Valley.

He says they have taken significant steps to recognize the importance of drainage in protecting farms and livelihoods and have initiated several proactive measures to improve drainage in agricultural areas.

Rayalu says as of now the drainage for farmland areas program has effectively cleared 69.3km of primary drains in the western division assisting almost 290 farmers while some are awaiting completion.

He says that based on the complaints received, it is evident that the abolishing of the drainage was 7 years ago which significantly contributes to the majority of the problems that we face now.

Rayalu further says the coalition government has approved the Drainage Amendment Act 2023 which enables the reinstatement of the drainage board in Fiji for which the ministry has inducted 37 new members as well.

The Minister pleads to everyone to act responsibly and refrain from dumping household garbage into the waters which causes blockage and leads to unnecessary flooding.

While responding to the statement, Opposition MP Sachida Nand says people’s farms in the Northern Division are flooded with seawater and nothing is being done about it.

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