RAKIRAKI is a major supplier of root crops for various markets in the country but its own people have been deprived of cassava and dalo for months.
Farmers prefer to sell their produce to middlemen for export because of the higher price offered.
A visit to the Rakiraki Market early yesterday revealed bare stalls. Only three bundles of dalo were in an area usually taken up by root crop vendors.
Vendor Mere Ali, 58, said large-scale cassava farmers no longer sold root crops at the market.
"Only vegetables are plenty right now. People are also not buying root crops because it is too expensive and the quantity is less. Previously, the price of a heap of cassava would be $3 for a very large heap but now it's $5 and more," said Mrs Ali.
She said the price of dalo had also increased in previous years.
"We used to get them for about $7 or $8 a bundle but now it's $15 or $20 each," she said.
Mrs Ali added root crops were usually supplied from as far as Nasau, Vanuakula and Waimicia.