Nice to see women working in a co-operative way to make a business of cultivation pearls in Raviravi, Vanua Levu. Story from Fiji Sun.
Raviravi pearls shine
The women of Raviravi in Macuata are working hard collectively to grow black pearls and find a market. They have a reason to smile and boast about their product, which is graining prominence in the Northern Division and the tourism sector. The Navatudua Women’s Pearl Farm Project, which is located at Basa Bay, collects close to $10,000 every harvest. According to pearl technician Adi Dionani Salaivanua the women from Raviravi Village harvest their pearls twice in a year.
Currently, the women sell their pearls to the Nukubati Island Resort, which is situated off the North Coast of Vanua Levu.
Since it is costly for the women to pay Japanese technicians to culture the pearls locally, Adi Dionani said she had to learn the art herself. With the help of her relatives living overseas, she was able to learn how to breed pearls from watching videos and reading manuals. Adi Dionani says the quality and quantity of cultured pearls was hampered by the lack of technical knowledge on pearl seeding and harvesting. However, this has changed because she is now a pro in pearl breeding. Being the only technician at the farm, Adi Dionani is aided by the 32 women who take part in activities like cleaning the oysters, drilling, harvesting and the deployment of spat collectors by fisheries officers.
Adi Dionani said their hard work eventually paid off through the pearl income-generating project. The farm is an outcome of a Fisheries Department drive in 2004 to encourage maritime communities to invest in pearl farming as a sustainable source of income. She said the department provided the initial seeding costs of the oysters, equipment and support.
Representatives from the Navatudua Pearl Farm Project are in Labasa for two days demonstrating their work to the public during the World Fisheries Day celebrations.