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The Fiji island has seen crops dwindle

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 28, 2010) - Declining soil fertility on the Fiji island of Taveuni is a threat to the country’s largest dalo supplier, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The industry, Taveuni’s economic mainstay, is valued at FJ$16 million [US$8 million] with a production rate of 9,000 tons last year.

This is expected to drop if declining soil fertility isn’t reversed. The island’s 3,632 farmers are also struggling with high fertilizer costs.

Agriculture permanent secretary Colonel Mason Smith said tests confirmed soil fertility had been steadily declining due to continuous planting.

Acting agriculture officer Rohit Lal said more fertilizer was needed to improve soil fertility.

"We sent samples to Koronivia and the results have been the same," he said. "Soil nutrients are decreasing and ph is declining so there is need for more fertilizer to counter the decreasing fertility. Due to intensive cultivation over the past 15 years, dalo yields have dropped significantly and export reject rates have increased from 20 to 40 percent."

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