Women farmers grateful for govt leverage

Picture: Farmer Maria Iosefo.

Women farmers who received offer letters for irrigation kits have expressed their gratitude for the assistance that would boost their farm production. 

Pineapple farmer, Silipa Tavukinagaunasega, 56, of Navakada Settlement in Naganivuda, Seaqaqa was emotional when she recalled the challenges they encountered as a family when they would fetch water from the creek to water the pineapples.

She explained in i-Taukei that during the dry season they lost a lot of their pineapples due to the dry heat but it did not deter them as a family to continue planting, despite having to buy their planting materials on credit. 

Silipa, who has more than 50,000 pineapples in the ground, thanked the Government for the assistance that she added would really make their farm work easier now that they would be able to water their pineapples with the hoses that would be part of their irrigation kit. 

She explained when she retired in 2013 there was no turning back and there were no thoughts of looking for another employment. Instead as a family they started their pineapple farm at home that covered almost 57 acres of land in size. She said she wanted to make use of the land around her home. 

She advised women who had land to make use of the land and plant as it was a good source of income.

Silipa said all the commodities she planted all helped in looking after her family as well as assisted in meeting the education expenses of her children.

She said the advantages of farming was that it meant she spent all her time and energy at home where it mattered; with her family. 

Besides pineapples, Silipa also plants vegetables like beans, eggplants, chillies, pumpkin and root crops of dalo and cassava. Coconuts too were also part of her farm. In addition, she has a poultry farm that helps complement their family income. 

Silipa sells her produce at Seaqaqa Market with regular clients in both Savusavu and Labasa Markets. 

Another woman farmer, Maria Iosefo, 52, plants in Korosomo, Seaqaqa where she is married. She, like Silipa, also received her offer letter for an irrigation kit. 

“I am happy to receive this assistance because it will help us a lot on the farm. It is the first time to receive this government assistance and I want to say ‘Thank You’ to the Government for helping us,” she said.

Maria plants yams, beans, cucumber, tomatoes, capsicums, and chillies and has only recently started selling at the Labasa Market.

“My advice to women is ‘Put God First’. He will give us the courage, knowledge and strength that will all come together to work as one to help us achieve our goals. 

The two women were amongst other farmers who received offer letters for Small Farming Equipment and Irrigation kits together with portable rice mills from the Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy during his recent tour to Vanua Levu.