Premature crop harvest begins

THE dry spell has forced farmers in Cakaudrove to uproot yaqona and dalo plants which are beginning to shrivel and wither.

The premature harvest drive is being done so they can earn a bit of money from it rather than losing all.

Yaqona farmer John Ting said most farmers in his area of Qaranibali in Natewa had started uprooting and selling the kava plants.

“Even before maturity, we sell it to other farmers who go and replant the yaqona in their own farms,” he said.

“For us, it is about earning money from our farms because the dry weather has killed almost all our plants, even dalo.

“Our farms are far away in the hills so forget about carrying drums of water there. Our best option is to uproot and sell.”

Another farmer, Amena Kava said others types of root crops and vegetables were being prematurely harvested.

“The dry weather is not helping at all and the fruits and root crops are smaller in size compared with the same period last year,” he said.

“It’s a disaster because we haven’t had rain for months and even the water level in the creeks has gone low.”

Alosio Ray is another farmer who has felt the pinch of the dry spell.

“It’s not easy especially when we have orders to meet so we have to ensure that we have the stock of yaqona all the time,” he said