Ministry of Agriculture staff with Mr Shannon during Aglime demonstration.
The Ministry of Agriculture aims to drive the country’s economy through agriculture by increasing farm productivity through the use of Aglime (Agricultural lime).
In order to achieve that, a workshop was recently organised by the Market Development Facility and the Standard Concrete Industries to familiarise the staff of the Ministry on the benefits of Aglime.
Ministry permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi during the official opening of the workshop acknowledged the initiative made by the Standard Concrete Industries for crushed limestone to be used for soil treatment.
“Soils tend to become acidic from heavy use of nitrogen containing fertilizers, unless a soil conditioner is used,” Mr Ligairi said.
“Using Aglime, “lime”, or agricultural lime, a finely-ground limestone or dolomite, can change the soil chemical properties from being acidic to near neutral.”
“This benefits the end product in reducing toxic elements such as aluminum and manganese effects’, thus promoting soil microbe activity, improves soil structure and maximizes the availability of nutrients for plant growth,” he added.
Research and studies confirmed that most soils in Fiji are acidic therefore lime is needed to correct the soil pH (acidity level) to maximize crop yields.
As such, Mr Ligairi encouraged the agriculture ministry staff and farmers through this awareness program to understand the importance of Aglime in agricultural production.
He also encouraged participants to know how to use Aglime in the field and why it is necessary to do soil tests in order to know the recommendations of how much Aglime needs to be used.
“Aglime benefits us in many ways, it improves yield which literally increases production level which then trickles to the reduction of agricultural imports and the subsequent increase in agricultural export,” he said.
“The concern by farmers on the increase in production costs in terms of chemical fertilizers input will be addressed through the application of Aglime because it is cheaper.”