The Ministry of Agriculture has launched the Back To Rural Agriculture Programme to support Fijians who have lost their jobs due to the current pandemic and want to return to the rural areas to focus on agriculture.
The $400 package consists of $250 worth of farming tools, $100 worth of planting materials and $50 cash.
The farming tools include one farm knife, one fork, one spade, one 20 litre water bucket, one water can, an axe, 50 metre rope, one set tarpaulin and 1 set shade cloth.
The tool kit will be delivered to the recipient at the place where they will start farming.
Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Mahendra Reddy says this programme is only applicable to those in the Central Division, particularly the areas in Suva, Lami and Nausori areas where a lot of people have lost their jobs.
He says people in the Western Division, particularly Nadi who want to go back to the interior and do farming can also apply for this programme.
Reddy thanked their development partner for providing $100,000 funding.
The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Ritesh Dass says individuals must substantiate that they do not have any other alternative source of income for the family.
He says individuals must provide evidence of loss of jobs due to COVID-19 in the form of letter from the employer and evidence of 5 acre land with supporting documents.
He says the applicant must be a aspiring crop farmer with intention to engage into full time farming activity.
He says supporting letter from the community leader on the farm being located in the rural area can also be provided.
He further added, farmers who will be enrolled on the programme will be registered in their database and each of them will be provided ongoing support in terms of technical assistance, education, and guidance to help them grow and make agriculture a long term profession.
People can access application forms at the nearest agriculture station and online from tomorrow.
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