Fiji Authorities Urge Youths to Take Up Farming


Aging farmers in Fiji’s rural communities involved in the agriculture sector continues to be a worrying trend for the Fijian government which wants more youth involvement in this sector.

Agriculture Minister Mahendra Reddy said Thursday the Ministry of Agricultures’ Farm 2016 Household survey revealed that 22 percent of farmers in Fiji are between the ages of 19 and 30 while 35 percent of the farmers are over 50 years of age. Reddy said it was vital for Fijians to understand that farming should be treated like a business and the government would continue to encourage farming through support programs.

“We want young people, youths to see agriculture as a business rather than see agriculture as something that is relegated in the periphery. The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to provide the required leverage to farmers via various farm support programs to provide services to existing farmers and to attract young farmers as well.”

Reddy said the ministry plans to attract more young farmers through different initiatives. Agriculture is the mainstay of Fiji’s economy, and contributes around 28 percent to total employment in the formal sector. This sector which was once a major stronghold of Fiji’s economy and is the third largest now, contributing 451 million Fijian dollars (211 million U.S. dollars) or 9 percent annually to the nation’s GDP. Sugarcane which used to dominate the sector now only contributes 0.9 percent and has been surpassed by other crops, horticulture, and livestock production and subsistence sector according to Investment Fiji.


The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Berekum West, Mr. Isaac Osei has urged the youth to take advantage of vegetable farming especially tomatoes, to better their lives instead of travelling to the cities for non-existing white color jobs.

Addressing a farmers’ durbar at Fetentaa organized by the Vegetable Growers Association in the district, he encouraged the farmers and the youth to step up their farming activities from subsistence to the business level in order to earn more from their sweat.

In a response to an appeal, the DCE assured them of the assembly’s readiness to help them establish a tomato market center to create ready market for them and also to aid the assembly in its revenue mobilisation.

To drive home his commitment to support the farmers, he announced that the grading of farm roads in the area is to start, to ensure easy access to their farms and again make it easier to transport their produce to avoid them being locked up on the farms to rot, a situation he described as unfair to the hardworking farmers.

Earlier, the chairman for the association, Mr. Kwame Bamfo Kesse said the durbar is a means to interact with farmers and stakeholders on how to address various challenges facing them.

He cited low financial support, unavailability of ready markets for their produce and the difficulty in acquiring land for farming as some of the major challenges facing vegetable, especially tomato farmers in the area.

Adehye Panin of Fetentaa, Nana Effah Amankwaa appealed to the government to establish a market center for their produce.

He noted that the traditional council of Fetentaa had release two-acres for the market and appealed to the Assembly to support them clear and develop the area.

Nana Effah Amankwaa noted that the construction of the market would go a long way to support the farmers to pay off their loans.

“With a ready market we can determine prices of our produce and this would make the business lucrative” he stated.