28 Nov 2016

Fiji farmers fight red tape over seeds, says NFP

2:32 pm on 28 November 2016

Fiji's National Federation Party says farmers are being subjected to unnecessary red tape as they try to replant after Cyclone Winston.

The opposition party says even subsistence farmers are being made to fill out a two page form to apply for seeds from the Ministry of Agriculture.

It says it should not be too difficult for the government to hand out seeds from the five tonne consignment sent by the Indian government last month.

Instead, it says farmers are being made to provide a photo, a copy of their birth certificate or other proof of identity, a copy of their land lease and background of their farming experience to get the handout.

The party says it would be cheaper for farmers to buy their own seeds.

But the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Jitendra Singh told Fiji VIllage the requirements are in place to establish whether people have land to plant the seeds.

He says there have been cases in the past where farmers have sold seeds they had been given as they had no land to plant.