It's a hard life for some farmers in Dreketi, trying to make a living from growing rice. Fiji really ought to be able to fulfill all the rice needs for the people but if the price is so little, why try hard? So it is rather disturbing to see the waste of money in court cases in Suva, the gallivanting around the globe by leaders when the backbone of Fiji - the rural people, have difficulty putting food on the table for their children!
from today's Fiji Times
Rice pay setback
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
RICE farmers in Dreketi in Macuata have raised concerns on the poor payment by the Rewa Rice Limited for the rice they have supplied.
Farmer Chandrika Prasad of Malawai in Dreketi told this newspaper he was paid only one tenth of the total supply yesterday.
He supplied 1387 tonnes of paddies at $750 per tonne last week.
The total amount he looked forward to receive was $1040.25 but returned disheartened holding a cheque of $100 only.
Mr Prasad said he was told by staff at Rewa Rice Limited in Labasa that he would receive a monthly payment of $100.
He said the payment was insufficient to meet his family and farming needs. "Rice farming is our only source of income.
There are many other farmers who have not been paid and they are struggling to make ends meet. Rewa Rice Limited is buying paddies but isn't paying us," he said. Mr Prasad said they had their children to send to school to, buy food, pay water bill and pay the bank loan.
He said it was hard for families to survive with a monthly payment of $100.
Mr Prasad borrowed $8000 from the Fiji Development Bank for the purchase of a farm machine and is yet to pay about $2000.
He said poor payment for supply was being experienced by farmers in Muanidevo, Malawai and Nabulu.
Mr Prasad said it was expensive for farmers to travel to Labasa to collect the monthly payments because bus fare from Dreketi to Labasa was $6.
He supplies about 2.8 tonnes of paddies annually from his five and a half acre farm. While attempts to obtain comments from Rewa Rice Limited Board chairman Colonel Inia Seruiratu proved futile, a response is expected from Public Enterprise permanent secretary Elizabeth Powell.