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Exporter, farmers lose out

Jone Kalouniviti
Friday, January 31, 2014

HEAVY rain and flooding in the Sigatoka Valley is causing thousands of dollars in losses for exporters and farmers.

Those involved in the export of fresh produce suspended business over the past two days because of their inability to harvest their crop.

"We have sent all staff home and cancelled our shipments for the week," said Satendra Kumar, a manager at two-time award winning export company Mahen's Export.

"This will cost us thousands in projected earnings this week.

"And we also now have to prepare for the possibility of flooding because the river continues to rise and will affect our crops and access to the farms."

Following a heavy rain alert on Wednesday, farmers in the valley were up and about early yesterday tending to their farms to protect crops.

Vegetable farmer Prem Chand, who sells his produce at the Sigatoka market, said his income this week would be next to nil.

"We have not been able to do much in the past two days," he said.

"We are hoping the rain will not continue for long because we need to make a living."

At Natao, corn farmer Joave Doidoi was worried about the state of his crop.

"When it rains continuously we have to work faster so the food will not go bad, so we cannot just stay indoors and wait for it to pass," he said.

"Work continues whether it rains or shines."

The Ministry of Agriculture is urging farmers to secure their stock and crops.

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