19 Jun 2015

Fijian Farming

From Country Life, 9:13 pm on 19 June 2015

IMG carol fijiFijian dairy farmers Camille Compain and Hirdesh Nand and the National Agricultural Fieldays.

A delegation of 12 Fijian dairy farming representatives has just left New Zealand following a tour looking at farming practices and dairying technology here.

They're part of a Fiji Dairy Development Programme sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

One of the New Zealand consultants to the programme, James Allen from AgFirst, says it's a five year programme that aims to increase milk quality and milk production in Fiji and to increase the prosperity of its dairy farmers.

There are about 400 commercial dairy farms in Fiji and the annual milk production is 10 million litres.

However that needs to grow to 70-or-80 million litres to meet domestic demand, James says.

Dairy farmer Hirdesh Nand has a herd of 70 cows in Fiji's Western Division. He milks three cows at a time on temporary equipment.

His farm was set up three years ago on Crown land that has been taken out of sugar cane.
Fijian dairy farmers get paid 80 cents (F) per litre. By comparison, New Zealand farmers will have a payout of 60 cents (F).

"At present it is quite good...compared to sugar cane farming it's really a good farming," Hirdesh says.

He says he has been particularly interested in pasture management and calf selection techniques and has been impressed  by the way New Zealand farmers produce their own supplementary feed on farm.

"After my tour, what I am going to do is to improve my farm to a better level so that I can increase my milk production to get more productive in future."