SUVA, (FAO/UN WOMEN) – Around 1,000 women market vendors – farmers who were adversely affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston have received agriculture supplies that will help in their efforts to replant their crops. The produce will eventually be sold to market.
For market vendor-farmer Adi Menani Tabua from Naqoro Village the supplies could not have come at a better time.
“I lost everything after Cyclone Winston and we are still trying to replant all the crops that we have lost. While trying to rebuild my farm, I am also trying to rebuild my house. I want to thank the people who have donated the fertilizers, this is of great assistance.”
“Helping women market vendors get back on their feet as quickly as possible is essential in ensuring their health and well being, and that of their families,” says Aleta Miller, UN Women Representative in Fiji.
“Having produce to sell is not only crucial to their own livelihoods, but also for many other market vendors across the country who rely on that produce,” she said.
The supplies, provided through UN Women and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) were distributed to the women in the Ba, Lautoka, Rakiraki and Tavua markets. All the vendors are centred in areas that were most affected by the cyclone.
Each of the vendors received assorted seeds, fertilizer, and agricultural tools.
The decision to help the market vendors – farmers, supported by FAO, was a result of the UN Women Markets for Change project. In assessing the effects of the cyclone on fresh produce markets around the country the two UN agencies identified women market vendors-farmers as those most in need of assistance of agricultural inputs.
FAO has been directly involved in procuring and distributing the agricultural supplies with funding coming from CERF (the United Nations Central Emergency Fund), according to Joann Young, Assistant FAO Representative to Fiji.
“It is key for us to support the women market vendors to help them in restoring their income and restart agricultural production. Moreover, our assistance aims at reducing the high food prices of vegetable produce like Chinese cabbage or tomatoes which are very expensive due to their scarcity in the markets.”
This has been a cooperative effort involving not only FAO and UN Women, but the Market Vendor Associations, Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and financed from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).