SUNBIZ

Bread And Butter Foremost For Women Cane Cutters

Women have made a call to all women who have lost their jobs to become part of cane cutting groups during this sugarcane harvesting season.
24 Jul 2020 12:10
Bread And Butter Foremost For Women Cane Cutters
From left: Maca Nailuve, Loata Salele and Esita Vunisa wih fellow cane cutters at a farm in Vitogo Paipai in Lautoka on July 24, 2020. Photo: Charles Chambers

Putting bread and butter on the table for the family was more important than being ashamed of what you are doing, according to three women cane cutters.

In saying that, the women have made a call to all women who have lost their jobs to become part of cane cutting groups during this sugarcane harvesting season.

Yesterday the trio were out in the hot sun at Vitogo Paipai, in the interior of Lautoka with their gum boots, cane knives and hats cutting cane alongside the men.

Maca Nailuve

Maca Nailuve, 46, of Naitasiri, who is in to her third year as a cane cutter and working alongside her husband said being ashamed to do this work was a non-issue.

Her foremost thoughts were of her eldest son at Drasa Secondary School and three younger children who are at home with them.

“Our livelihood comes first and cane cutting is a job and it pays. It’s better than going around the streets begging or relying on relatives to help.

“Cutting cane is not hard work. To all women- do not be ashamed to cut cane because we are going through some hard times,” Mrs Nailuve said.

Esita Vunisa

Esita Vunisa, 24, from Nalawa in Rakiraki previously worked at a hotel in Sigatoka two years ago.

With her husband and young baby, Mrs Vunisa said they could not rely on relatives as everyone was struggling.

They made their way down to Lautoka in 2018 and have been cutting cane since.

“We came here to cut cane and I am not ashamed of doing this as it gives me and my husband some income.

“We have to think of our four-year-old son who relies on us. However I enjoy doing this.”

Loata Salele

Loata Salele, 28, of Vitogo in Lautoka previously worked at a pizza outlet in Lautoka and when her days got reduced to two days a week, she decided she needed to find another job.

“I help look after my parents in the village so earning $40 a week at the pizza shop was not good.

“I decided to cut cane and earn around $100 a week and that has made me enjoy my work.

“It is hard work and young women, especially, will be ashamed to do this but I encourage you to come and cut cane as it is an honest job,” Ms Salele said.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj




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