HIGH transportation costs and market access are the two key issues faced by vegetable and root crop farmers in Nadarivatu.
ITaukei farmers who displayed and sold potatoes, carrots, and various types of vegetables and rootcrop during the roadshow at the Nadarivatu government station highlighted their problems to this newspaper.
Navai farmer Viliame Nailiko said the weather conditions in Nadarivatu were best suited for potato and vegetable farming.
He said while many farmers in the area were productive and harvested their produce in commercial quantities, the unavailability of markets was a big drawback.
Mr Nailiko said farm produce such as tomatoes were often spoiled and discarded because of the time spent searching for markets.
He said farmers were often forced to transport their produce as far as Lautoka, Ba and Tavua to be sold.
"Apart from the high cost of transportation we have to spend at least two to three days in urban areas waiting for our produce to be completely sold and in the process, some of the ripe tomatoes get spoilt," said Mr Nailiko.
"We hardly profit from these market trips, and we're requesting the government to find markets to sell our produce."
Agriculture Minister Lieutenant Colonel Inia Seruiratu announced during the roadshow that the government would build a packing shed to assist farmers.
He said government, through the agriculture department, was aware of the difficulties faced by Nadarivatu farmers in terms of market availability.
Lt-Col Seruiratu also encouraged youths to be actively involved in the agricultural sector.