$517,240 agricultural damage bill

THE Island of Ono-i-Lau has recorded an agricultural damage bill of $517,240.

This estimation was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture after officials conducted an initial damage assessment on the island days after Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita ravaged the island.

Agriculture officials said the most damage was recorded on Tuvana-i-Cake and Tuvana-i-Ra, two islands under the Ono-i-Lau territory where land was used for commercial purposes.

For Tuvana-i-Cake Island, damage to cash crop, coconuts, totalled a market value of $108,675, Tuvana-i-Ra $83,953 and Ono-i-Lau $324,612.

Senior agricultural officer Nimilote Waqabaca says the two islands, three hours boat ride away, but the people of Ono-i-Lau depend on it for coconut farming. Mr Waqabaca said the villagers planted coconuts on 13.05 hectares on the two islands, and these were sold to middlemen from various parts of the country as copra.

Ono-i-Lau has four villages, namely Doi, Matokana, Nukuni and Lovoni. On Doi Village the agriculture and livestock damage bill was $15,907. On Matokana Village, agriculture officials recorded coconuts as the most damaged crop with a market value of $6150. At Nukuni, bananas were the most damaged commodity totalling $14,250, and on Lovoni Village yams were the most affected totalling $13,000.

Vatoa Island, which is the neighbouring island to Ono-i-Lau, was also in the path of STC Gita but no damage was recorded on the island.

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