Farmer buys milk to feed livestock

Bhina Dayal feeds her lamb at her house in Nagigi. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

THE prolonged dry spell has incurred financial costs for affected families in a cane belt area of Labasa.

The residents of Nagigi have increased their weekly budget to cater for their farms and animals that have also felt the brunt of the dry spell.

Bhina Dayal spends about $20 to buy milk and other necessary feed for her lambs.

“I buy two or three packets of powdered milk every week for my lambs because their mother can’t feed them,” she said.

“The dry weather has affected our livestock and vegetable gardens and we know it’s beyond our control.”

Her husband, Din Dayal, who is also president of the Nagigi Mataniwai Water Project, said the dry season had taken its toll on farmers, affecting all age groups. “Even the schoolchildren have suffered because they wake up early to get water from the well which is almost dry,” he said.

“The water is being supplied to our houses but once a week and between 1000 and 1500 litres is filled in our tanks.

“This is not enough and we hope something is done about it. We have to travel to other areas to get water when we run short in the week.”

Feroz Ali, another resident, said they had to hire vehicles to fetch water from the town area.

“We spend a minimum of about $50 a week to hire vehicles to get water if we run short.” He has pleaded with the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) to increase water supplied to residents in the area.

WAF general manager customer services Sekove Uluinayau said they were aware of the situation in the area.

“The area is classified as a non-metered area as residents rely on boreholes and wells for their water needs,” he said.

“Because of the current prolonged dry spell, their water source has dried up resulting in intermittent water supply, prompting the authority to cart water to the settlement.

“Under the WAF’s rural water carting schedule, Nagigi settlement is scheduled for cartage every Wednesday.”

Residents are urged to contact the authority on toll-free shortcode 1507 for water carting services.

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