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Fiji Time: 10:18 PM on Tuesday 23 September

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Ra's issues

Maciu Malo
Saturday, June 28, 2014

NASAU DISTRICT

Nubumakita, Nasau, Ovalau, Nukula, Nauria, Vanuakula and Nasukamai

About 20km from the main Kings Rd

Population: ~ 1000

The issues, farm roads: Raised in tikina and yasana meetings over 50 years but nothing has changed. Farmers spend more than $100 to transport produce to the Lautoka market.

Farming is their only source of income, openly expressed frustration that farm road construction was promised in recent years but nothing eventuated.

Education: Three tikina — Nasau, Lawaki and Nalawa — consisting of 20 villagers do not have a high school.

Student dropout blamed on poor road conditions and absence of proper public transport services.

Food prices: Not happy about increasing cost of living, food prices a big worry.

Water: Supply not consistent. Request made to governments over several years but no one has responded.

Last water development made during the Rabuka government.

Electricity: No response to requests for electricity over 50 years.

LAWAKI DISTRICT

Namara, Nakorovou, Nawairuku, Sawanivo, Waidrata.

Distance from the main Kings Rd is about 15km

Population: ~ 900

Farm roads: Absence of farm roads is a major headache for farmers.

Farmers say this discourages villagers from investing in the land because of the difficulties involved in transporting produce to the market.

Water: Need clean and safe drinking water, source not treated despite pleas to tikina and yasana meetings.

Food prices: Frustrated that dalo price has dropped from $2 to $1.20kg while the costs of goods at supermarkets continue to rise.

Electricity: Made several requests to various governments, all unsuccessful so far.

NAKOROTUBU DISTRICT

Saioko, Verevere, Namarai, Naocobau, Nadavacia

Distance from the main Kings Rd: About 25km from the Kings Rd

Population: ~800

Farm road: A major problem for the 300 struggling farmers in the district.

Some travel more than 4km carrying sacks of produce from their farms to the main Naokotubu road. Issue raised over the past 20 years but farmers' pleas remain unattended.

Education: Villagers want a secondary school. The nearest is Ra High School, located 50km away.

Water: Supply not consistent, sometimes source drinking water from a creek.

Food price: Supermarket goods considered a luxury. Too expensive so they go without it most times.

Rising sea level: Would like a sea wall built so they can remain in their homes. No action taken on requests.

KAVULA DISTRICT

Nabukadra, Nayavutoka

About 30km from Kings highway

Population: ~ 600

Road and transport costs: Poor road conditions make travel to markets very difficult.

Farmers spend about $70 on transport from the village to the market.

Rising sea level: Poses a real threat but requests for assistance in fortifying the shoreline with a sea wall have been ignored.

Food prices: Villagers are struggling to meet the high cost of food and are disappointed that dalo and cassava prices continue to drop significantly.

BUREIWAI DISTRICT

Delaiyadua, Matainanau, Nadogoloa, Naveisividra

About 40 km from the Kings Rd

Population: ~ 800

Farming: Concerned that farmers will lose interest because of the continuing drop in the price of dalo.

Food price: Want government to address increasing cost of food items.

Public transport: Suggest additional bus service to address issue of safety and overcrowding.

MATASO DISTRICT

Nakorovou, Narikoso.

About 6km from the Kings Rd

Population: ~ 500

Bridge: Nakorovou villagers say they have been waiting 40 years for a new bridge as heavy rain affects the movement of students and farmers.

Road and transport: Absence of road makes it difficult for villagers to transport farm produce to the market.

Water: Cited as a major issue, drinking water is not treated.

BUREVANUA DISTRICT

Nalidi, Soa, Balekinaga

About 15km from the Kings Rd

Population: ~ 450

Farm roads: A major setback for villagers who want to seriously invest in farming.

Because of the absence of farm roads, farmers reported it took half a day to transport produce to the main road.

Water. Water supply is not consistent.

Food price: Villagers admitted they have to do without most food items because they simply could not afford it.

Want government to address food prices in rural areas.

TOKAIMALO DISTRICT

Nailawa, Naivutu, Nabalabala, Mataveikai, Vunisea, Nayaulevu, Navuniyamunu, Narauyaba, Navavai, Naraviravi

About 17km from the Kings Rd

Population: ~1500

Farm roads: A major issue for the more than 600 farmers in the district.

Some travel more than 6km from their farms to the main road. Discouraged, most opt to focus on subsistence farming.

Water: Want water pipes renewed and government assistance with a new water project.

Food prices: Say escalating food price issue needs to be addressed.

Bus service: Students travelling on school bus usually arrive home at around 8pm.

NALABA DISTRICT

Nativi, Namara, Burelevu

About 10km from the Kings Rd

Population: ~550 people

Market: Farmers are struggling to sell their produce because of the unavailability of market.

Safety of children: Have been requesting for a new bridge Nativi over the past three years but nothing so far.

Every time it rains the bridge gets flooded making it unsafe for students who have to cross it to get to school.

Vacant cane lands: Want some incentives to return to cane farming. Only six active canefarmers now in the district compared with the more than 40 some 15 years ago.

NAILUVA DISTRICT

Nailuva, Nabalasere, Naqelecibi, Nasavu, Nararavou

About 18km from the Kings Rd

Population: ~1000 people

Farm roads: The absence of farm roads has discouraged farmers from venturing into commercial farming. Villagers blame their lack of progress on this.

Food price: Numerous complaints about falling dalo prices despite the increasing costs of supermarket goods.

Market: Unavailability of market has also discouraged farmers to invest on their land.


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