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Fiji Time: 9:29 AM on Wednesday 17 September

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Building resilience

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, August 25, 2014

THE post Tropical Cyclone Evan disaster needs assessment conducted by government revealed that men made up 96 per cent of official farmers in the agriculture sector.

The report revealed that most of the women's contribution concentrated on subsistence farming and unpaid farm labour.

However, the United Nations Development Programme, together with the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Ministry of Finance and Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, has implemented a program that promotes and encourages women and youths participation in sustainable farming.

According to UNDP, the program ensures gender inclusivity, has greater impact on the families' wellbeing and food security, and supports women's groups, youths and co-operatives.

The Talaiya Multiracial Women's Group of Ba is among 38 community groups from the Western Division which received a small grant from UNDP to start cash crop farming to diversify their source of income.

Group member Fainum Nisha said they previously earned income by selling homemade sweets and handicraft items as well as engaging in small scale subsistence backyard farming.

However, the project has allowed them to develop good practices in vegetable farming and gain basic financial management skills.

Ms Nisha is one of the five women in the Talaiya Multiracial Women's Group who are farming on an acre of land.

Like many people living in western Fiji, she experienced three major floods within a year — the twin floods of early 2012 followed by Tropical Cyclone Evan that hit the area in December 2012 — that destroyed houses, livestock and farms.