Lt. Colonel Mason Smith, permanent secretary of Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture, told media that engineers from China are in Fiji to set up the country’s first feed mill at the Koronivia Research Station, as a response to the plight of livestock farmers.
According to the official, it will take Chinese engineers two weeks to set up the mill and another two weeks to train officials of his ministry to operate it. The feed mill would be commissioned in the third quarter of the year.
"The mill will basically be able to produce feed for all kinds of livestock like ducks, goats, pigs, cattle and this will ensure that in times of drought and flooding that we have mill in store to be able to feed our livestock," Smith said, adding local supply of feed will ease farmers’ production costs.
Livestock farmers in Fiji have had to put up with steep farm production costs exacerbated by the high costs of supplementary feed.
Local agricultural waste or by-products like refuse from municipal markets and sugar cane tops will be processed and churned into feed pellets, according to local media.
Tomasi Tunabuna, Director of the Animal Health and Production Unit (AH&P), said that the mill was a major achievement for the government in terms of providing conducive environment to livestock.
"It is pretty expensive for farmers to buy imported feed and we find that most of the time if they use feed concentrate, the costs of feed make up more than half the cost of operating the farm," Tunabuna said.