Wainimakutu Collection Centre to ensure proper storage of farming produce

Caption: Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka, Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Mr. Isoa Talemaibua, Commissioner Central Division Mr. Josefo Navuku and Provincial Administrator (PA) Namosi Mr. Laisenia Tui, and other Government officials serving in the Namosi province with farmers of Wainimakutu Village in the district of Naqarawai after the commissioning of their Collection Centre last week.

SUVA – Farmers of Wainimakutu in the district of Naqarawai in the interior of Namosi no longer have to worry about the preservation and storage of their farming produce while waiting for pickup by its buyers.

Previously, farmers would lose out on hard-earned money as the quality of their produce would deteriorate due to the unavailability of proper storage facilities.

The struggle of having to endure this for years ended this week following the commissioning of their very own Collection Centre by the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka.

Wainimakutu farmer Mr. Tomasi Droya said the project came as an answered prayer for the farmers in the district of Naqarawai.

“We used to face a lot of challenges, especially with the sale of our farm produce when we try to transport down to the nearby towns. At times we would lose out on our money as we cannot maintain the quality of the crops while waiting for the buyers’ pick-up trips to the village. Sometimes when we have to take it to towns, we also make less money as buyers would buy at a much lower price. This used to be very disheartening to the farmers,” Mr Droya said.

“With this facility, we cannot thank the Government enough for looking beyond those in our urban centres to come to our aid through the provision of this facility. This is the beginning of something bigger for us, and we look forward to the swift roll-out of our cooperative business concept from this very centre.”

Wainimakutu Village has 60 households with a population of more than 250 people. One of their main source of livelihood is the farming of Dalo and Yaqona. While farming is mostly semi-commercial, one of the main problems faced by the villagers in previous years was the marketing of these produce. Dalo

The completion of the Wainimakutu Collection Centre Project was funded by the Government under the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management’s Self-Help Programme (SHP) at a cost of more than $12,000.

The project aims to provide proper storage of harvested dalo while waiting for buyers’ pickup and ensure dalo quality is maintained at the highest level from the farmers’ hands to exporters.

The project also aims to support the Wainimakutu Farming Cluster to move into business, value-adding and experience trading at higher levels within Fiji and abroad with better income earnings capacity, to support their socio-economic environment.

This timely investment by the Government is also envisaged to drive the community to better productively utilize their land resource with a long-term positive impact, and also ensure the community is self-sufficient in terms of food security and income generation to better support their socio-economic needs.

In commissioning the newly built facility, Hon. Ditoka said he was excited to learn that the farmers have already started using the facility. He said he believed this would encourage others in the district of Naqarawai to utilise resources that are readily available to not only generate revenue but also improve their standards of living.

Caption: Mr. Tomasi Droya (3rd from left) with other farmers of Wainimakutu in the interior of Namosi in front of their newly commissioned Collection Centre.

Minister Ditoka also commissioned the Wainimakutu Primary School Access Road during his recent visit to Namosi.

Funded under the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management’s Community Access Roads, Footpaths and Footbridges (CARFF) Programme, this is an investment of more than $20,000 by the Coalition Government to benefit 110 students and teachers who attend and serve at the remote rural school.

With the completion of the access road, students of Wainimakutu Primary School no longer have to cross a nearby river to get to school daily.

“This project will enable the children of Wainimakutu to attend school every day, and will also ensure that teachers enjoy the conducive environment that they are teaching in,” Hon. Ditoka said.

School manager Raru Aisake Kaisuva has expressed his acknowledgement to the Government for this much-needed and timely assistance.

“We would like to sincerely thank the Government for not overseeing the plight faced by our children attending this remote rural school in Wainimakutu, Namosi. We are very grateful to the Government for hearing our cry and addressing it through this access road project,” Mr Kaisuva said.

Caption:Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka and Permanent Secretary for RMDDM Mr. Isoa Talemaibua with Wainimakutu Primary School manager Ratu Aisake Kaisuva and students of the primary school and Wainimakutu Secondary School in Namosi after the commissioning of the school’s access road.