2022 General Election: Farmers want a government to help find a good market

Natokalau Village headman, Rovana Karoko says their request for government assistacne for the construction of an evacuation centre must have "gone past the clouds and reached the heavens". Picture: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

YAQONA farmers in the village of Natokalau, in the district of Yawe, Kadavu, took to the polls yesterday with the hope it will result in a government that would assist them to find good markets.

Speaking to The Fiji Times, Rovana Karoko, 31 said the main source of income on the island was yaqona farming.

“We walk about three hours on rugged terrains to our yaqona farms and it’s really difficult to manage a yaqona farm,” he said.

“Then after its harvested in three to five years, one kilogram is sold for $40 to $50.

“They are then packed in sacks, then transported to Vunisea or right to Suva.

He said it would cost them around $200 to hire a carrier to transport the yaqona to Vunisea. He said some men would leave their families for weeks to stay on the yaqona farms because of the distance.

“Before we used to get so much in yaqona farming, it was $70 to $90 a kilogram.

“We want a government that will listen to the needs of yaqona farmers and one that will help us find a good market.

“I think there is a demand for yaqona in overseas and this is where we believe that government can come in to assist us access those markets.

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