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Fiji Time: 6:57 AM on Thursday 17 April

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Ray of hope for commercial farmers

Salaseini Vosamana
Wednesday, January 09, 2013

THE Fiji National Provident Fund has clarified that the Natural Disaster Assistance does not extend to crop damage but only to housing damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Evan.

And farmers who depend on vegetables, root crops and yaqona for their children's education but had their farms ravaged by the cyclone can breathe a sigh of relief as the FNPF allowed them cover under the education assistance scheme.

The clarification followed concerns raised by a group of farmers on how their children would not start the new school year as their vegetable plantation had been damaged by the cyclone.

In a statement, FNPF chief executive officer Aisake Taito said "the education assistance is open to those members who qualify for this assistance as per policy requirements.

"But for the Natural Disaster Assistance, it's only for housing damage and does not cater for crop damage."

Bua farmer Ilaitia Waqa said he was worried about his children's education because his farm was badly damaged.

"The rehabilitation process for our farms will take some time and we can't depend on this to support our children's education but with the help from FNPF, I am sure we can send our children to school on time," Mr Waqa said.