Seaweed farming costly for women

Naividamu Women's Club president Loata Lewatulu, left, with harvested seaweed. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

THE financial costs of seaweed farming has left the women of Naividamu in Macuata turning to other income generating projects.

Members of the Naividamu Women’s Club have had to spend $150 to hire boats for their seaweed farming.

Club president Loata Lewatulu said the group did not have a boat so financial costs of hiring boats left them exceeding their budget.

“We have harvested our seaweed farming project and received $800 as income,” she said.

“But to go out there and harvest the seaweed we need to pay for the boats and $150 has been the minimum cost of three boats.

“We have limited income sources here in this village so this cost for boats is quite high for us.”

Ms Lewatulu said to cushion the burden of high costs, they had also started a bakery project.

“We bake bread and buns which are sold to the villagers and surrounding villages have come to buy as well,” she said.

“There are 15 members and money earned from seaweed and bakery have been divided into two.

“Half of our profit goes to our savings and the remaining money is shared among our members and operation costs.”

Yesterday, a team from the Ministry of Youth and ATH Vodafone Fiji Foundation were at the village to raise awareness about available assistance that could help women projects.