The Fiji Development Bank this morning sealed a partnership with Standard Concrete Industries (SCI), a major division of Basic Industries Limited (BIL), to promote and maximise the use of agriculture lime (aglime) in Fiji’s agriculture sector.
“As the major financier in the agriculture sector, FDB continues to venture into initiatives that will boost agriculture production. Agriculture will remain the basic resource for social and economic livelihood for people in Fiji therefore it is imperative that we ensure the longevity of its yields,” FDB acting chief executive officer Nafitalai Cakacaka said.
“Uncontrolled farming practices in Fiji have resulted in the off-setting of the natural soil structure. The organic treatment of the soil through the application of aglime has been tested and proven to improve soil acidity levels for better yield.”
Aglime removes acidity from the soil. If the soil becomes too acidic, crop production will fall even if fertilisers and other crop implements are supplied at the correct levels.
SCI is a major supplier of aglime in Fiji and while it is widely available, farmers in Fiji still have limited knowledge of aglime and its benefits to soil health and economic returns when it is administered correctly.
“The memorandum of understanding signed today ensures that FDB and SCI will identify and implement strategies to provide sufficient awareness for farmers of the product and its potential benefits in order to maximise its use.”
“From experience, FDB fully understands how some agriculture land have been over utilised without appropriate treatment to restore its natural balance. We will be identifying FDB clients requiring treatment and provide assistance to improve their production.”
“Good agriculture production requires healthy balanced soils with its nutrients intact. Providing corrective measures to soils that have been over utilised will be beneficial and we are proud to be part of such a venture.”
Under the partnership, SCI will provide the technical expertise for the training and educating of stakeholders including FDB officers, agriculture field officers and farmer groups on the application and benefits of aglime.
In addition, SCI will also assist through administering acidity tests to identify lands that require soil treatment.
FDB will provide loan packages designed to incorporate aglime purchases similar to fertilizer and other farming implements to assist farmers.
“We are hoping that agro-entrepreneurs will take heed of the benefits of aglime use as we want to ensure that aglime is made widely available as possible. This is a way forward for agriculture as the back bone of our economy.”
The partnership is a first between FDB and SCI and is expected to be the beginning of future collaborations.