Dry, thirsty land

Hirdesh Nanad shows the cracked surface due to drought at his farm in Nadele Tavua. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

DAIRY, vegetable and sugarcane farmers in Tavua say they need a permanent solution to withstand reoccurring dry weather that hits them year after year.

Former advisory councillor Hirdesh Nand said the dry spell should not come as a surprise to farmers and authorities alike.

“The weather is something that we cannot control but what we can control is how we prepare for it,” he said.

“The Western Division is prone to dry weather. We have lived here long enough to know that when the dry weather stays for a long time, every farmer will be affected.

“What I want as a farmer is to be able to prepare myself for this extreme weather.

“By now we should be able to know what farmers need and what they have to be provided with to make sure their production does not drop.”

Mr Nand said farmers should be equipped for the impending weather changes.

“For a drought we need permanent water sources. “For us here in Nadelei, we have a dam and with Government help can supply enough water for each household and to our farms.

“For years we have wanted something like this but all we can do is establish our own water source as a community project. If people in rural communities are doing things themselves without help from Government then we will not be able to grow.

“Each farmer needs a water tank or a proper irrigation system that could supply water to vegetable farms during the dry weather. All of this could be done to keep a farmer’s livelihood alive even in bad weather situation like this.”

He said farmers had been forced to implement alternative water sources for their farms.

“As a dairy farmer, I know that my milk production will even be worse next year. “So to prepare for that I will plant sugar cane to feed my cows. If we don’t provide solutions for farmers we will not be able to survive.”