Fiji - Pacific Islands Rural and Agriculture Stimulus Facility (PIRAS) - July 2022
Mereseini Naola Takeiwai is a community facilitator from her village of Draubuta, district of Noikoro in the province of Navosa. She is a former village health worker; however, this did not deter her to make a switch to agriculture as she thoroughly enjoys farming Mereseini is married with 5 children, her eldest now pursuing vocational studies “As a farmer, I find joy in what I do, I like spending my time on the farm and watching what I plant grow’’. During the lockdown, life in the village was tough, the movement was restricted and we couldn’t even afford to buy basic food items from the store to feed our families. Mereseini shared that purchasing planting materials and other agriculture outputs wasn’t possible with the evolving fuel prices and it would cost around $25 (one-way) to travel to Sigatoka. Through PIRAS, highland farmers were provided vegetable seeds, community nurseries, fencing, manure, and relevant training. “I learned how to extract my own vegetable seeds, this is something that we can practice so we don’t heavily rely on store-bought seeds plus it's readily available”, says Mereseini.
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