Cassava farmers worry over low harvest

Lisi Lewadovu at her cassava plantation in the interior of Ra. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

RA farmers supplying cassava for export have been unable to keep up with quotas as they continue to suffer from the continuing dry weather affecting the Western Division.

The farmers who supply the produce twice each week have noted a drop in their harvest over the past few months. Nausori villager Voniani Bukadrou said the farmers were harvesting their final round of mature crops before they waited for the next round of harvest.

“We have to deliver to our buyer every Tuesday and Thursday and if we don’t meet our weekly quota, we won’t get paid,” he said. “Sometimes, what we give is not enough to feed our families.”

He said the dry weather had left their plantations without much needed nutrients for new crops to grow.

“If we harvest all of our mature crops now, we will not be able to plant the new ones.

“The soil is too hard and we can’t plough through the plantation without help.”

He said the farmers were in need of more rain to replenish their dry land.

“It’s the only way we can recover our land.”

Batiga Settlement residents Alumeci Vecena and Joseva Muria have resorted to carting their supply to a nearby river to prepare them in sacks.

“One of the requirements of each farmer is to peel them and pack them in sacks, but we have no water so we have to bring our supply to a river,” Ms Vecena said.

“If we don’t prepare the cassava the way our buyer wants them then we wont be able to sell them.”

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