Turning sweat into cash

Vilimaina Rauqeuqe at the Suva Municipal Market. Picture: RAKESH KUMAR

Vilimaina Rauqeuqe believes the task of improving her family’s living standard rests with her.

That’s why the 54-year-old from Nadakuni village in Waimaro, Naitasiri wakes up early and accompanies her husband to the plantation every morning.

Aside from her chores, Vilimaina helps her husband and does not rely on him to provide everything for the family.

“I help him and I believe every woman should do the same,” the mother of eight said during an interview at the Suva Municipal Market last week.

Every Friday, the couple sells produce, harvested from their plantation, at the Suva market.

Their crops include rourou, cassava, dalo, duruka, banana, and chillies, among others.

“I come to Suva every Friday with my husband to sell our crops which we grow on our farm,’ Vilimaina said.

“I prefer to take up a stall and sell my produce rather than doing wholesale because we make more profit by selling the produce ourselves. To be at the Suva market on time, the husband and wife team harvests their crops on Wednesdays and Thursdays. At around 2am on Fridays, they leave home with their produce in order to be at the Suva market before 6am. When selling is over, the couple shops for food and other family needs to take back to Nadakuni in the afternoon.

“I do my own planting and also help my husband in his dalo, cassava and yaqona plantation.

“I have eight children and seven of them are married. Those who are married support their own families. They have their kids to look after, so my husband and I work hard on our farms to support ourselves.”

She said life was a struggle at times, especially when the price of goods sky rocketted.

“We have to work very hard to earn a living.”

“Waking up at 2 am and coming to the Suva market with the produce from our village is not an easy task, but I have to do it for my family. Vilimaina said the waiver of market fees had helped them and the government should continue with this pro-poor initiative.

“Before we had to pay stall fees to sell our produce, but currently we are not paying it. That amount is saved for our shopping.” Vilimaina said people should utilize the land to improve their family life.

“My advice to unemployed women in the village is to get into farming,” she said.

“Apart from getting fresh vegetables to sustain the famly, you can also get an income by selling your produce.”

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