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Volunteers build coconut drier for village Fiji

Fiji Times Online Maika Rabaleilekutu Thursday, July 07, 2011

IN the hope of instilling a self help attitude, the elders and leaders of Wailevu in Cakaudrove have paved a way for such habits to dwell among villagers.

Village headman Tevita Beka said they had started building two copra driers which would help villagers dry their own copra which was sold directly to the mill in Savusavu.

He said over the past years the villagers sold raw coconuts to the mill and did not receive much money from it.

"The two driers will be the first ever for the village and this started after we saw how the women's business in making the virgin coconut oil continues to thrive since starting last November.

"The construction of the driers is being done by 17 boys from the village on a voluntary basis.

"The villagers had revealed the coconut drier as a major need for everyone. This is the first drier to be done for the whole village," Mr Beka said.

Mr Beka said they used to earn less than $20 when they sold the uncooked copra to middlemen who earned more from selling it to the Copra Millers in Savusavu.

He said villagers would earn more money from selling cooked coconuts.

"This is the village project and we will continue to work together to get the things we want that will help in the development of the village," Mr Beka said.

"We will ask Government whenever help is needed but in whatever areas we can assist, we will do it ourselves because we want villagers to first help themselves," he said. Mr Beka said the women in the village gave $500 to help in the construction of the drier and the money would be reimbursed once the business was operational.

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