It's good they have already commenced an assessment of the damage to agriculture in Vanua Levu. It is heartbreaking for farmers to see their hard work planting vegetable, fruit, and cane resulting in nothing. Good healthy dalo etc. gone to waste and they have to start again. If I was a farmer I would be angry wondering what's wrong with the world and why the farmers have to suffer. But of course living in the tropics can mean the rain comes down and the rivers flood. People live near rivers for convenience. However, logging and other man-made disturbances to the land may contribute to the excessive flooding. If someone says it's an 'act of God' I don't think so - it's just part of the cycles of nature. Or is it part of a real disturbance in our world caused by global warming, that there will be more extreme weather situations?
from the Fiji Times.
By Theresa Ralogaivau
Saturday, January 17, 2009
SIX initial assessment teams were activated by the Ministry of Agriculture mid-week to inspect damage caused to vegetable and crop plantations across Vanua Levu. Crop losses are expected to be part of major damage sustained by most farming families in the division. At Nabalebale, Vakativa, Bagata and Vunivesi in Cakaudrove, large chunks of dalo and yaqona plantations were washed away.
Vakativa farmer Saimone Matawalu said part of his plantations had disappeared or were now heavily silted. "We had floods last year and lost a lot of crops and this year it happened again," Mr Matawalu said. "For us, crying about it doesn't bring anything so we just get on with planting again and hope another flood doesn't come so that we have something to sell."
Vegetable farmers in Korotari are still reeling from the loss of vegetable farms, their sole source of income.
Mahendra Prasad, who sells tomatoes, beans and cabbages at the Labasa Market, estimated a $4000 loss of income.
"There are many more farmers in the same situation I am in but that does not make my loss any less since school is near and we still need to prepare our children for school," Mr Prasad said. "Several weeks of hard work disappeared within a few hours in one night."
Destroyed farms have resulted in a low supply of root crops at vegetables at the Labasa Market subsequently forcing prices up, and in some cases doubling. Before the flood, a bundle of long bean sold for $2. It is now $4. Cabbage now costs $3 instead of $1.50. Dalo is now $20 instead of $10.
Assessment teams are expected to report back to DISMAC by next week.