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Workshop enlightens farmers on contracts

Monika Singh
Saturday, November 11, 2017

THE Fiji Crop and Livestock Council sees a huge role for the organisation in providing communication structure in the concept of contract farming, says chairperson Simon Cole.

Recently workshops were held by FCLC in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations to look at improving commercial farming, to give farmers confidence to grow crops, and to give buyers confidence that their crops will be delivered at the right time and right quality when they need it for processing, export, or for the local market.

"In Fiji, where we have thin markets that can go very quickly from over-supply to under-supply, contract farming can contribute to buffer some of those risks for both parties," Mr Cole said.

A statement from FCLC yesterday explained that contract farming involved an agreement between buyers or processors and farmers for the production, supply, and marketing of agricultural products.

It said FCLC was mandated by Government in 2010 to support and encourage the commercialisation of agricultural farming in Fiji.

"There is strength in working in groups and there is a role for the associations and the head of the associations to monitor, adapt, and adopt these contracts, to mentor some of their farmers in these contracts.

"I see a huge role for FCLC in providing that communication structure in this contract farming concept. It's absolutely essential," Mr Cole said.

Vice-president of the Fiji Dalo Farmers Association, Manasa Tumuri was part of the workshop and he said it had given small-holder farmers an understanding of how to write a contract as well as awareness to upscale production to become fully commercial even without lease.

Funded by the FAO, the workshops were held in Suva, Labasa and Nadi for farmers in the non-sugar agriculture sector and associated stakeholders including the buyers and exporters.

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