MARKETING their hand-made items has been a challenge for a group of women on Kia Island in Macuata.
The challenge had forced the women of Ligau Village to turn to the sea for regular income.
The women, who belong to the Kauwai Women's Club, have struggled to sell their handicraft items and mats because of the unavailability of markets.
Group leader Losalini Bulinaviu said even if they sold their mats at the Labasa Market, vendors always bargained for a cheaper price.
"We struggle to make the mats from going out to cut pandanus leaves then boil it and dry it before we prepare it for making mats," she said.
"So if we take our mats to the market to sell at $100 each, the buyers will ask us to drop it to $80 or even less.
"Most of the time we drop the price because we need the money to do shopping for our families and we need to return to the island the same day."
As a result, Mrs Bulinaviu said, most women preferred to collect sea slugs and sell to buyers in Labasa.
"It is always available and the money is good too. So women go out to sea as well to collect sea slugs and sell to the buyers in Labasa at a good price," she said.
"Finding a secure market to sell our handicraft work and mats has been difficult and a struggle for us.
"So it is better for us to also help our husbands sell the fish and other seafood and get good money to support our families."