5 Jun 2008

Fiji farmers are lazy says Fiji's Rewa Rice chairman

11:13 am on 5 June 2008

Fiji's Rewa Rice chairman, Hari Pal Singh, says although Fiji has the potential to boost its rice production for local consumption in the face of high prices and low global production, farmers are too lazy.

Mr Singh says Fiji's total rice production is around 12,000 to 14,000 tonnes of paddy that translates into 9000 tonnes of rice.

He says much of it is for farmers' own use.

Only 1000 tonnes is processed by Rewa Rice, which buys, mills and markets the rice.

The Fiji Live website reports new rice importer the Rice Company of Fiji, a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Fiji, put out an advertisement expressing interest in buying 1000 tonnes of rice on a consistent basis.

But Mr Singh says doubts this would be possible particularly with the "lazy" farmers, and the price doesn't appear to be that good.

He says farmers assume lots of things and have got a hand out mentality, wanting everything given on subsidies, duty free, tax free.