Agriculture is one of Fiji's largest revenue earner and provides income and employment for thousands of farmers across Fiji. Apart from it's contribution to Fiji's GDP, the agriculture sector provides food security and helps secure the future of communities across the country.
When TC Winston struck the nation, it devastated farms across Fiji and directly impacting the lives of farmers and in the process, the nation's food security. To mitigate this, the Ministry of Agriculture and with the assistance of donors and the private sector immediately responded by providing the necessary assistance to ensure that our farmers can have access to farming tools and seedlings. By doing this, we are putting in place measures to avoid a disruption in our food security.
Tonight the Ministry of Agriculture staff started preparing the packaging of seedlings for farmers - each pack contains seedlings for 7 different vegetables including long beans, cucumbers, cabbages, watermelons etc.
Despite the lack of power, the staff continued to work overtime to have these seedlings ready for dispatch to ALL affected farmers. It's a long proces but its one that the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development Hon. Inia Seruiratu is personally overseeing to ensure that the seedlings are packed in time for delivery across the country: Source - Fiji Government
By Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, February 27, 2016
WEST senior agricultural officer Vinesh Kumar has raised serious concerns about the escalating prices of vegetables at some municipal markets in the Western Division.
A survey conducted by this newspaper at the Lautoka Municipal Market yesterday revealed prices of goods had increased by about 500 per cent in some cases. When contacted yesterday, Mr Kumar said agricultural officers would look into the issue. "We will be closely monitoring the situation because gone are the days when middlemen could artificially escalate prices and take advantage of situations like Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston," he said.
Vendors at the market said they had been forced to pay exorbitant prices for basic vegetables. Lebua Sunia, a vegetable seller for the past 15 years, said while prices were expected to increase after natural disasters, the level of mark-up this time had been alarming. "Vegetables that people buy every day have gone up by huge amounts," the 50-year-old said.
Ms Sunia said English cabbage wholesale prices had increased from $30 a bag to $60, spinach from $8 a dozen to $24, Chinese cabbage from $20 a plastic to $30 and cucumber from $30 a bag to $80. Kaliappa Naidu, a vendor for more than 30 years, said customers needed to buy vegetables and store them while the prices were relatively cheap.
"Just before Severe TC Winston came, I could buy a bag of eggplant for anywhere between $5 and $10 a bag," he said.
"Today, that same bag costs me between $30 to $40."
Vegetable supply was expected to normalise in the next 4-6 months.