Ginger harvesting has become a buzz up in the hills of Lomaivuna in Naitasiri.
The Agriculture Department caught up with Hari Pal, 59, of Sector 5 farming community in Lomaivuna to see how his harvesting turned out.
When ginger was first introduced back in 1987, Mr Pal was one of the farmers who began with ginger production.
With 10 acres of land, he has been consistently planting ginger, dalo and cassava for the local markets.
"It was a totally new crop for us but through the years I mastered the art of ginger farming," explained Mr Pal.
This year he harvested a total of eight tonnes of ginger even though he expected to harvest more.
"Most of my ginger turned yellow because of excessive rain but I know that I will have to improve on my drainage systems come the next planting season in September," said Mr Pal.
Mr Pal has been supplying ginger to Frespac Ginger Fiji Ltd in Wailada, Lami. "We have been getting $900 per tonne and that is good money for five months' worth of sweat," he said.
According to principal agricultural officer Central Tepola Seniloli, the Lomaivuna Development Scheme started in the 1960s where farmers from outer islands — especially in the Lau Group — were settled to earn their living from farming.
"Their major crop was banana and then later changed to ginger and other root crops such as dalo and cassava," said Ms Seniloli. "The ginger acreage to date is 50 acres and there are a total of 145 ginger farmers that are currently planting ginger from sectors 1-8 in Lomaivuna."
Ms Seniloli added that the interest in ginger farming had increased because of its maturity span as well as its income.