VILLAGERS in the Western Division are being urged to get together and plant export crops on a commercial basis.
Nature's Way Cooperative CEO Michael Brown said villagers or individual growers in areas such as the Sigatoka Valley had to consolidate farms to make it economically viable for exporters to purchase their fruit, vegetables and root crops.
"If the volume is too small then it is very uneconomical for exporters to send a truck all the way into the valley to pick up 100kilograms of export crops like papaya and eggplant," he said.
"Our advice to farmers in one area is to get together and plant the same crops to increase volume and make it viable for exporters to justify sending transport to purchase and pick up their produce."
Alena Nasiga, a papaya and eggplant farmer from the Middle Valley in Sigatoka, said she took up agriculture in an attempt to sell her produce on the export market.
"But they never come around to pick up my papaya or eggplant," she said.
"So, I harvest what I can during the week and take what I can down to the Sigatoka Market."
Mrs Nasiga said out of the average $300 she made per week, her transport expenses amounted to about $200.
"I make $100 which is enough for my family and I to survive. I hope to increase my farm size from the one and a half acres I have now and produce enough to attract exporters."