Farmers face $500,000 loss

Farmers Donu Raiwalui, left wih Epeli Banicakau at Marakaba in Navonu, the hotspot area for grog theft. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

ABOUT four farmers in Navonu have lost about $500,000 worth of yaqona over the past three years as a result of thefts.

And as the situation worsens, some farmers have purchased portable cameras to install on their farms for security purposes.

Farmer William Laginikoro and his wife, Ruci Nakai, of Marakaba settlement in Navonu have lost about $100,000 over the past year only.

“Our farm has been attacked a few times by thieves since last year and we have lost about $100,000 within a period of one year.

“But we have lost more than that amount because we have been victims of yaqona theft since 2016 after the price of yaqona increased,” Ms Nakai said.

“My husband has had to move to the farm to look after it while I remain at home with our children who attend school.

“This situation has affected a lot of families financially, emotionally and socially because it has disrupted plans of improved livelihoods.”

Another farmer, Donu Raiwalui, said people had become heartless and bold to steal from farmers who had worked hard over the years.

“The situation is becoming unbearable because these thieves operate at night. “We have lost a lot of money as a result of this situation.”

Benedito Vakadranu, another farmer, has described the situation as chaos.

“People continue to steal and farmers are growing weary and worried about the situation we face,” he said.

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