Cyclone Damage Estimates To Fiji’s Agriculture Decreased

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Initial estimates dropped to $2.8 million for Northern Division

By Salaseini Vosamana

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 30, 2012) – Fiji’s Department of Agriculture in the north sustained an estimated FJ$5 million [US$2.8 million] in damages as a result of Tropical Cyclone Evan.

Principal agricultural officer northern John Cox yesterday said the figure had extremely decreased from what was recorded in the initial field survey.

The initial cost of damage after preliminary assessments was about FJ$26 million [US$14.5 million], however, the final figure is FJ$21 million [US$11.7 million] less after proper analysis into damages caused by TC Evan by agricultural officers in the Northern Division.

"According to the initial survey works carried out by our officers, about FJ$26 million in damage was sustained," Mr. Cox said. "The figure then decreased after proper analysis and examination was conducted on all damaged farms around Vanua Levu."

Mr. Cox said the pre-cyclone preparedness and pro-activeness from farmers also resulted in the decrease in the cost of damage in the agriculture sector.

"In the past cyclones, damage on agriculture was usually extensive and now it's improving because farmers are taking heed of weather warnings and advice," he said.

"This is a good sign because they are taking ownership of their belongings and are also helping government to save extra money."

However, he urged farmers to take the lead role in rehabilitating their farms instead of relying on government for assistance.

"It's only proper if farmers make use of the farming materials they have before government can help them," Mr. Cox said.

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