Farmer starts from scratch, displays produce

Ministry of Fisheries staff from left Shalendra Singh, Manada Kudru, Waisea Aka, PS Fisheries Craig Strong and Isikelo Odro during the 2019 Agricuture Show at Valelevu Grounds yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THREE years ago Atunaisa Natubailagi of Vatulele Village on Koro lost more than $20,000 worth of yaqona and root crops which was destroyed during Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

This left the 56-year-old devastated.

He had to start from scratch and it took him years to revive what he lost in that monster cyclone.

The fruit of his hard work was showcased yesterday at the 2019 National Agriculture Show where he displayed his farm produce such as yams, taro and vudi (plantain).

Mr Natubailagi said he was among hundreds of farmers on the island who were badly affected by Severe TC Winston. “It was a hard time for us farmers on Koro Island because farming was our only source of income, but we were determined to rebuild our lives,” he said.

“We helped each other and shared farming techniques in order to revive our yaqona and root crops which was a main source of income.

“It took us years to rebuild and we managed to do it, now we are shipping our farm produce and yaqona to Suva once the shipping services become available on the island.”

He said he was privileged to be part of the National Agriculture Show and a chance for him to raise more awareness on organic farming.

Koro Island agriculture officer Akuila Komainaibili said there were more than 800 farmers on the island.

He said they had brought different varieties of yams to be displayed at the event.

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