AN unprecedented demand for cassava by exporters has fuelled growers' enthusiasm in the Western Division and transformed the local landscape with previously idle land now being ploughed and planted with the staple root crop.
Land that was left idle for years are now being utilised with frantic cassava farming as more growers jump on the bandwagon, enticed by the ease of doing business.
Exporters collect harvested crop from farms and pay cash, removing the burden of transport costs and market access issues that were stumbling blocks for farmers in the past.
This newspaper conducted a survey in Ra to document the cassava industry revolution in the area.
Interviews with many iTaukei farmers, especially those who had not done well in sugarcane farming, revealed that many were now ploughing their unused land for cassava farming and earning good income from the sale of their farm products.
Burenitu farmers Tevita Marovia and Jope Bavou said men and youths in their village that previously were not interested, now had their own cassava farms and existing growers had increased the size of their farms because of the immediate benefits.
"I have bought two bullocks for $2000 and have built my home at the village from the income earned from cassava," said Mr Marovia.
"I have also managed to send my three children to school through the cassava sales. I am earning around $2000 from one acre of cassava planted, something I never imagined could happen," he said.