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Fiji Time: 11:33 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Farmer counts the costs

Avinesh Gopal
Monday, April 09, 2012

A VEGETABLE farmer has estimated damage to his crop from the floods at $20,000.

Sugga Ram, of Bilalevu in Valley Road, Sigatoka, said whatever vegetables he had on his farm have been destroyed.

Mr Ram is the owner of Ram's Valley Fresh Produce and a major exporter of vegetables to overseas countries.

His family took shelter at the Bilalevu community hall with 20 other families when the Sigatoka River burst its banks and flooded the nearby farming area.

Vegetable farms and houses in Bilalevu are a few metres from the river bank and are prone to flooding.

Mr Ram said Ministry of Agriculture officials surveyed his farm and that of other farmers on Thursday.

"The floods destroyed all vegetables in my farm and I have lost about $20,000 worth of vegetables that I would have exported," he said.

"Considering the damage, there won't be any vegetables in the market for a few months."

The Agriculture Department said preliminary estimates of the damage to the agricultural sector in Sigatoka were $2.5 million. It said 80 per cent of all crops that were planted for food security and for export were destroyed.