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34 years as a market vendor

Losalini Vuki
Friday, December 01, 2017

In the wee hours of the morning, Kelevi Vatubuli makes his way to the Suva market to be in time for the loaded trucks of fresh produce. This has been a routine during his 34 years of being a market vendor.

Mr Vatubuli is one of the four vendors who earn money by vending at the new Raiwaqa market. He first started from the old Raiwaqa market and said his younger brother Apisai Natuvonu has been of great help regardless of his mild stroke.

During this busy period nearing Christmas, Mr Vatubuli said the demand of produce and firewood are high.

"Christmas is just around the corner and most families will be making lovo," said Mr Vatubuli.

"Depending on how fast it would sell, my usual orders would be 100 bundles from my supplier in Naitasiri.

One bundle is sold for $2 each. And because there is always functions on most weekends, the demand of firewood is always high during this busy festive season.

From the beginning of this month onwards, there is always a feast somewhere."

Mr Vatubuli adds market vending has put a roof over his family.

"This is actually a good source of income," he said.

"But it also depends on what we have on-season and off-season.

Prices will be higher when fruits and vegetables are off season but right now eggplants and long beans are quite affordable in the market.

We are so blessed to have land but most people don't utilise them. Farming is good money too."

He adds while they still use the old Raiwaqa market public facility, he is kindly requesting authorities to see to their need.

"It would be great if we were assisted with this but I feel it's the women market vendors that need it more, " said Mr Vatubuli.

"It's important these women get proper public facilities, we all do."

Mr Vatubuli sells coconuts, dalo, bele, banana, pawpaws, bhindi, chillies, dhania, ginger, eggplants and lemons to name a few.

Cost of two tables in a week is $30.50.

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