November 23, 2012

Agriculture initiatives for school leavers

Publish date/time: 23/11/2012 [07:02]

A major initiative to encourage school leavers to become farmers has been announced.

A scholarship program in conjunction with the Fiji National University will start next year where 50 Form Six or Seven graduates each year will attend a 12 month certificate course that trains them in various agricultural disciplines.

When they graduate, each student will receive a loan package to the value of $70,000, to cover the costs of farm land, a tractor and basic farm implements, fertilizer and other materials, a house and shed and start up cash of $2,000.

Commodore Bainimarama said each student will be supervised by an agricultural extension officer, and given specific performance targets.

The Government hopes to attract many more young people to become farmers, give them sustainable livelihoods, boost the nation's food security, and reduce Fiji's dependence on imported food.

$5 million has been allocated for a new scholarship program to cover tuition fees for more than 1,000 students to undertake vocational courses, through the Fiji National University, to help them acquire specialised trade skills.

This is to enable them to become certified plumbers, electricians, deckhands, carpenters, mechanics and engineers.

Good news as the free text book and bus fare assistance schemes will continue next year.

$1.2 million allocated for vocational training/programmes in 124 schools.

Generous tax concessions will also be given to people who donate computers valued at more than $10,000 to schools.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

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