FARMERS in Nadrau and Savatu districts are pleading for government assistance to establish a vegetable and crop warehouse in Nadarivatu.
Nadala farmer Jale Nabenia said one of the growers biggest challenges was the transportation of their farm produce to municipal markets.
He said farmers spent up to $120 per trip for a carrier to cart their produce to markets.
At times we hardly save anything from the sale of our produce because of the high cost of transportation, said Mr Nabenia.
We are also discouraged from moving to commercial farming because of the issue.
He said it would be better if the government assisted by establishing a warehouse or markets up in the hills so that we dont have to take our farm products to town. Naga Village head Joeli Nayavaki echoed similar sentiments.
He said while the government wanted villagers to set up income-generating sources, the high transportation costs continued to be a hindrance.
We plant dalo, yaqona, vegetables, potatoes and bananas but the main problem is transport, he said.
Nadrau district rep Levi Naimawi said farmers from his area spent more than $200 to hire carriers to transport their produce to Tavua Town.
Senior agricultural officer Viliame Mainawalala said the government was committed to helping the farmers gain access to new technologies and machinery.
He said government had considered the idea of a warehouse in the highlands and was looking to give tractors and other tools to help the farmers.