A discussion that started five years ago supplemented by numerous prayers finally came into fruition when a boat and engine was handed over to a group of Naitasiri farmers by Government.
Farmer, Mr Sevuloni Tuvatuvanabuka who heads the Duavata Farmers Group in Navuniyasi Village, Matailobau, Naitasiri explained in itaukei he had fasted and prayed for this assistance for a long time and was confident that God would provide.
Tuvatuvanabuka said he had sought assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and finally last Thursday his prayers was answered.
He expressed his sincerest gratitude to the Ministry for helping ease the challenges he and his group
faced in trying to ensure their produce was brought from their farms on time to sell in the markets in
Nakasi and Suva.
Some of the challenges, he said included; flooding of the Wainimala River during heavy rain stopped
them from accessing their farms located on the other side of the river; hiring boats which was an added
expense; or using a bilibili raft to cart their produce across.
The Duavata Farmers Group, Mr Tuvatuvanabuka said, was an initiative he formed five months ago
amongst his own family members, whose objective was to look after the education of their children.
In officially handing over the boat and engine in Navuniyasi, Matailobau, Naitasiri, Minister for
Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy thanked the Group for their
perseverance, patience, and partially contributing towards this assistance.
“We are here to hand over the boat and engine to you, which I believe will mean a lot to you the
farmers, to your mothers, and the children who will be crossing the river for various reasons – the boat
and engine is now yours,” the Minister said.
Dr Reddy added he hoped the Group would properly utilise and care for the items.
“We hope that you will form a good committee and you will look after so that it will last long. It’s yours
now. The longer you have it, the longer you can benefit from it,” he said.
The assistance was sourced from the Rural Outer Island (ROI) Program under one of the Ministry of
Agriculture’s Demand Driven Approach (DDA) programs. The Rural and Outer Island (ROI) Program aims
to enhance the livelihoods of people in the rural and maritime areas through very focused intervention
for their whole farming enterprise. In order to empower farmers to take ownership and responsibility of
the intervention, the farmers are expected to contribute at least 1/3 the cost of the project which could
be in-kind or cash.