Banaban Voice

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Fiji Times Online Sunday, January 24, 2010

MARKETING produce remains a challenge for farmers on Rabi island who depend on local markets for revenue.

While some export marketing assistance has come from the island's council and government, most depend on the market at the Nuku Government station to sell their produce.

This, some farmers said, had been a real struggle because their customers, mostly villagers, have their own supply of vegetables and root crops.

"So the only best option we have is sell our produce to government workers and there are not many of them on the island," said Tape Na'atan, a farmer of Uma Village. "The main crops for marketing are copra and yaqona for financial earnings but vegetables and dalo is planted by most villagers so it's not a marketing product," Mr Na'atan said.

He said marketing opportunities on the island were limited and farmers searched on their own for markets on Viti Levu.

"We have called agents in Viti Levu wanting to buy yaqona but transportation expenses to the island prevent most agents from coming across to the island from Viti Levu," Mr Na'atan said.

"So despite the high interest of farming and cultivating our land, it will be useless because our produce is not sold in markets especially for export purposes." He said some farmers were being helped by relatives and Rabi Kava on Viti Levu.

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