The challenges of storing and drying yaqona during unfavourable weather will now be a thing of the past for yaqona farmer Viliame Volau of Wainiveli Settlement in Lovoni District, Ovalau.
This follows the recent commissioning of a newly constructed yaqona drying and storage shed for Mr Volau, who no longer has to worry about the drying of his yaqona and its safe storage.
The assistance, under the Rural and Outer Islands (ROI) Program of the Ministry of Agriculture, was awarded to the farmer to boost yaqona production in the district.
Mr Volau said the assistance would enable him to increase his production as compared to previous years.
“Over the years, I faced difficulties in drying my yaqona, especially during rainy weather and that was when I decided to approach the Ministry of Agriculture for assistance.
“I am grateful to the Ministry because through this intervention I am positive that it will improve my production. It will decrease my labour cost and increase my production and revenue, previously I could earn around $3,000 but now I know my income will increase,” he said.
“The income I earned from the sale of yaqona has enabled me to construct my home and has assisted me to pay for my relatives’ children education,” Mr Volau added.
While commissioning the new shed, Minister for Agriculture Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy said the assistance was part of the Ministry’s service delivery to improve farmers’ livelihoods.
“We are proud to assist enthusiastic and hardworking farmers like you and we want to see you grow by yourself from this assistance, expand your production and build more driers with the intention to venture into commercial agriculture,” said Minister Reddy.
“Make use of the available resources you have and increase your production, there are markets available and meeting its demand is crucial. Now that you have received this assistance, you must continue to expand your planting and business to the next level,” Minister Reddy said.
The yaqona drying and storage shed, under the Rural and Outer Islands development program was worth $9,630.00.