The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum today issued offer letters of commercial agriculture leases to 11 students who completed their studies in Agriculture.
These students began a 2 year program where they spent 12 moth certificate training course at the Fiji National University’s Koronivia Campus.
In 2013, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama launched a scholarship program to train farmers and provide them with startup capital to put faming into commercial footing.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this is an historical occasion where for the first time the iTaukei Land Trust Board (ILTB) has given 99 year leases for commercial agriculture farming.
“In Fiji, farming is not recognized as a modern day profession or a financially viable proposition for many people to get into faming. We want to encourage people to take a modern day approach to farming because there is new technology available for planting and farming and this was the reason why we gave the agricultural scholarship,” AG said.
He added the intention is to get younger people into farming.
The AG said, Government had promised students that upon completion of the scholarship, Government would provide land, lease arrangement and pay for the lease and provide $2000 startup funds. Government has also paid upfront 5 year lease term of $35,000 which included consent fees.
The AG said the lease and capital will in turn contribute to the economy and also provide economic opportunities for these young farmers.