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Fiji Time: 9:30 AM on Wednesday 17 September

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Farmers to form body

Luke Rawalai
Monday, July 21, 2014

AS dalo prices fluctuate, farmers on Taveuni are pleading with the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council to speed up the formation of the proposed association.

The association, which was initially discussed early this year is aimed at assisting farmers with future plans and issues affecting them.

Delaivuna farmer Jone Rokovutoro said middlemen on the island had continued to dictate dalo prices affecting many farmers who had bills to pay.

He added having an association would ensure farmers were paid the deserving price of dalo and yaqona as well.

Another farmer, Jai Prasad said the association would assist them address old problems such as fluctuation in dalo prices.

"We are far from municipal markets and major markets so we often rely on middlemen," he said.

"Middlemen on the island have been robbing farmers of their money and sweat for a long time now."

About 3000 farmers met the council in March where discussions centered on the proposed association.

Council CEO Lavinia Kaumaitotoya said they were working in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

"In one of our meetings with the farmers they had addressed the dalo price issue and the association, which is planned to be formed, will address this issue," she said.

"I had also told farmers that they could be their worst enemies because they are the ones who gave permission to middlemen to carry on their sales.

"If they agree to sell their dalo to middlemen for a low price then they are already setting the price of the commodity."

Ms Kaumaitotoya said middlemen also played a critical role in the market. The council hopes to collect all signed forms from the farmers by September.