Dairy assistance

Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Limited employees and dairy farmers of Lodoni in Tailevu look at the new machines that will assist farmers in developing fodder for their milking cows. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE fodder development program launched by the Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Ltd recently is expected to help develop fodder, reduce feeding cost and increase efficiency on their dairy farms.

In a statement, FCDCL chief executive officer Sachida Nand said 11 packages consisting of farming equipment were distributed to 11 groups, with each group having three to five farmers.

Mr Nand said each package was worth about $26,000 and the machines were imported from India.

He said each package had a 15 horsepower tiller, a trailer that could carry 1.5 tonnes of load and a ripper that could cut grass needed for two to three days in one hour or so and a high speed chaff cutter.

“Farmers have to work in groups and share the cost of running the machines. “The package is designed to get farmers to work together. It’s very hard for small holder farmers to work alone.

“Working in isolation is no longer an option,” he said.

“The ownership of the machines will remain with FCDCL. If the machines are sitting idle and not being utilised properly, then FCDCL reserves the right to take the equipment and give to some other group that can put it to better use.”

Mr Nand said FCDCL, through the Agriculture Ministry, would purchase more machines and the objective was to continue such assistance for dairy farmers for the next four to five years.

The objective is to slowly mechanise the dairy industry, decrease cost of production and increase efficiency.

On Tuesday, the first package was delivered to dairy farmers in Lodoni, Tailevu where the Agriculture Minister, Inia Seruiratu also addressed them on the importance of increasing milk production.

The 11 groups that will be assisted this year have been selected from different supply base of FCDCL, which covers Navua, Burebasaga, Tailevu, Waidewara and Naitasiri.

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