From cultivators to suppliers

Fipe Mocevakaca cuts up grog from her farm at Niuma settlement, Cakaudrove. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

CASES of yaqona theft in Cakaudrove have forced some farmers to switch from farming to buying yaqona and are now suppliers for customers on Viti Levu.

For Emosi Biraki, who used to plant yaqona in Navonu, becoming a supplier has been the best decision.

“We don’t have to worry about people stealing yaqona because we buy and I also make sure I know the farmers I buy yaqona from,” he said.

“But at least we can sleep at night and don’t have to worry about our farms getting raided by thieves at night.

“Since I started supplying yaqona, the demand has also increased so it’s good for my business as well.”

Another farmer, Joe Vuetiyaroi, has continued farming but on a smaller scale and around his house.

“It’s safer for us because thieves won’t dare come to around your house to steal yaqona. Uprooting yaqona takes a lot of time so they wouldn’t dare come around your house,” he said.

“I feel sorry for farmers who have become victims of this situation because they lose out on a lot of money.”

Viliame Vosabeci, a farmer of Mataikoro, has taken a break from planting yaqona.

“I have had a lot of plants stolen and more than three times so I just take a break for a while,” he said.

“I even planted yaqona for the Methodist Church and that was also stolen. I don’t know whether these people stealing yaqona have any heart at all.”


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