Farmers affected

APART from the five deaths and widespread damage to homes and infrastructure caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie, the agriculture sector also fell victim to the category 1 cyclone.

Kavanagasau, Sigatoka, vegetable farmer Roneel Singh lost about four acres of his farm when floodwaters linked to TC Josie swept through on Sunday April 1.

Yesterday, Mr Singh and his family were trying to recover fruit and vegetables that had not been damaged by the flood.

“I plant pawpaw, cassava and pumpkin and all of that is gone,” he said.

“We have a 12 acre farm and about three acres of it was damaged by the flood.

“So far I can say I lost about $4000 and I won’t be able to meet my daily supply to the Suva market and nearby resorts.”

He said nearby farmers were faced with similar losses.

“I believe this was worse than TC Xena.

“TC Xena had a lot of rain too and most of the farmers along the Sigatoka river were really affected.

“But this one was worse because a lot more farmers have been affected.”

He said farmers in the Sigatoka Valley have become used to the recurring floods.

“I think one of the things that farmers along the river have come to accept is that we can’t stop mother nature.

“The only thing we can do is adapt and we have been doing that but more needs to be done, like better drainage for our farms.”

Another farmer Aklesh Kumar said four acres out of his seven acre farm went under water.

“For the past two years, this whole area has repeatedly received flood,” he said. “I try my best to plant and harvest enough vegetables to support my family but it keeps going down the drain because of the heavy rain.”

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