Click on image for article page
A Korean Church-based firm, Grace Road Food Company in Deuba, is looking at expanding their rice project this year from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu.
It also plans to venture into vegetables, livestock and aquaculture and establish a research institute, milling factory and other infrastructures.
Company managing director, Daniel Kim, said they currently have six mataqalis wanting to work with them on Vanua Levu and three in Viti Levu.
“We work with the native people where they give us the land, we develop it, we train them, give them a job opportunity and the market,” he said.
The announcement comes as the company harvested their second variety of rice “Totoka” in Deuba this week.
Established a year ago, the main goal of the company was to develop a quality standard of rice farming in Fiji.
The food company provides training for the local people on how to plant their rice, how to harvest including the skills that are needed will be taught to all those who are willing to work with them.
Mr Kim said the Fijian Government and the company share the same aim for an import substitution plan on rice by the year 2020.
“The Fijian Government and we have to work together. We need to change the mindset of the land owners and the locals so the local people can plant our rice with motivation,” he said.
The company plants different varieties of rice and had set it off in Navua as a research centre hence the rice that was harvested will be stored in the shed as seeds for other farms.
Meanwhile, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture were present to witness the successful event of the yielding of an estimated 4.5 tons of rice per acre.
Company Farm manager Chour Kyu Lee said the machine used to harvest the rice was the best combine harvester in Korea. Therefore using the processor minimises the loss of grains.
Grace Food Company now has 1500 acres of land which they signed on an agreement with the land owners for the betterment of the local economy.
Sakeasi Labalaba, a landowner together with family and Mataqali members, is one of those who have been assisted by the company.
“We have benefitted a lot from this company, in terms of employment, financial benefits, education of our children and the development of idle land,” he said.