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Fiji Time: 10:50 AM on Friday 18 April

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Goat farmers hope for timely return

Shalveen Chand
Monday, December 23, 2013

CHRISTMAS for some goat farmers will be merrier if they can sell all livestock before Wednesday and return home in time on the last boat to Vanua Levu.

Despite the jokes and jest about the goats from the North, farmers from the region believe people enjoy goat meat from Vanua Levu during Christmas.

Anil Chandra and Kamal Virendra Singh are goat farmers from the remote area of Qelenimoto, Bua.

Mr Chandra farms on a bigger scale with about 150 sheep, up to 500 goats and is also involved in dairy farming.

He brought over 38 goats and 12 sheep on Thursday and when The Fiji Times stopped by his roadside stall at Nadera yesterday, only eight goats and two sheep remained to be sold.

He said bringing the animals to Suva was a challenge.

"There is no road from our farms in Qelenimoto to the main road. We have to load the livestock on outboard boats and bring them to a place closer to the road," said Mr Chandra.

"Only 35 goats could fit onto the boat at one time, so I had to make two trips which cost me $150 one way.

"On top of that we have to pay cartage fee to Suva and pay agriculture vets, who never frequent our farms, to inspect the livestock before they can go on sale."

However, Mr Chandra is happy with the sales so far.

He urged the relevant government agencies including the agriculture department to look into their plea for better conditions.

"I also hope that the agriculture ministry officials start visiting our farms in Bua. We have done good so far, but any kind of help is always appreciated," said Mr Chandra.

The Nadera Panthers training ground next to Ratu Dovi Rd yesterday was shared by about four goat farmers, all of them from Vanua Levu.