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Farmers unite to progress

Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A GROUP of farmers on the Garden Island of Taveuni have formed an association aimed at meeting demand of vegetables and root crops.

The Garden Island Vegetable Farmers Association on Taveuni also targets to supply food to investors who travel to the island for development projects.

Group president Ratu Jekesoni Yavalanavanua said the newly-formed group attracted about 30 farmers in the central area of the island.

"It is a good move and we are looking forward to supplying the market not only on the island but international markets as well," Ratu Jekesoni said.

"One of the first market we are looking at is the group of Chinese workers that will be in Taveuni to build the hydro dam.

"They love their vegetables and their healthy food so we are already preparing for their coming."

Ratu Jekesoni said farmers have already planted vegetables and root crops to supply workers of the hydro project.

He said following the government's projects of developments on the island, it was only right for the community to assist government through food supply.

"We will benefit because we will earn money and in return support our families too. Government has brought in developments and we should make use of the opportunity and find ways of earning money through it.

"We will also move down south and up north to involve the farmers in those areas. The group is also looking at directly selling our produce to overseas markets and not go through middlemen as we lose out a lot."

Ratu Jekesoni said when farmers sell through middlemen, they do not receive the full amount.

"The middlemen sell at a higher price to the market but buy at a lesser price from farmers so we will sell directly and get a good income.

"We will supply hoteliers as well, including Laucala Island Resort."

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