THE change in times has brought with it accelerated domestic strife and hardship, a 75-year-old farmer and fisherman said.
Comparing the old days to the fast pace race and development that takes place around us today, Anasa Raika, pictured, said the red tape and bureaucracy in today's system were challenging.
"It wasn't as bad back then as it is now. Today it's all about money, work and rising costs," the Nagigi villager said.
For one thing, the sea by his coastal village - tucked between the Simpson and the Smith estates on the shoreline of Savusavu - was filled with fish during his time.
But the bche-de-mer harvest and spear fishing at night contributed to the depletion of fish along the
coast that fronts his home, he said.
The once thriving copra and cocoa trade wasn't spared.
It has stagnated with the changing times and the decisions that accompany it.
"Where once the Agriculture Ministry would provide equipment for the copra driers, it is now no more.
"Villagers must buy drums for their drier and most cannot afford the costs. One drum would cost $5 - today it's around $10.
"In those days, individual coconut farmers had a drier they could each call their own.
"Today, there are just two driers for the entire village," Mr Raika said.
Nagigi Village is home to an estimated 200 people that reside there.
Each family owns a coconut plantation which averages around three acres.
Back in the day, coconut farmers reaped dividends which financed their children's school fees and enabled planters an opportunity to build better homes for themselves.
"Most of these Savusavu people with good white collar jobs you see today - they got to where they are today on the back of money we earned from copra. That's how we sent our kids to school," he said.
It is not quite so today, Mr Raika said.
"Because of the issue with driers, farmers are content to sell fresh coconut meat to middle men for instant cash. It means we lose out on dividends. Dividends were our source of income. Through it we secured loans - our every need was taken care of. That was Ratu Sukuna's initiative," he said.
For every certain kilogram of copra farmers produced, a certain sum of money was deducted from money farmers made and invested in a trust fund, he said.
Through such means, their needs were taken care of, Mr Raika said.
Another contributing factor to the failed coconut farming industry is the fact that it takes three days to process or dry coconut flesh - and villagers can not often afford to wait that long when the need for cash arises, he said.
Fishing and farming on a subsistence scale is what villagers have resorted to today.
The lack of a market is one of the many discouraging aspects that prompt villagers to limit what they plant and how much they fish.
"(We) can't sell at Savusavu market because everyone around there has a farm and fish," Mr Raika said.
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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