Business

Copra trader calls for help

By RANOBA BAOA Helping small-scale farm owners in Dreketi, Vanua Levu is not new to Dreketi Copra Traders owner, Bimal Deo. He has been doing so for the last 20
30 Oct 2012 11:20

By RANOBA BAOA

Helping small-scale farm owners in Dreketi, Vanua Levu is not new to Dreketi Copra Traders owner, Bimal Deo.
He has been doing so for the last 20 years and believes that entering this year’s Vodafone & Westpac Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Awards will help them even further.
The awards will be held at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, Natadola Bay on November 17.
Mr Deo operates in an old rice mill and sells a variety of farm products, including rice, but concentrates on copra buying and selling.
Being a farmer for more than 20 years himself, Mr Deo knows how hard it is finding a consistent market provided with the right resource tools available for remote farmers.
In fact, he owns a 116-acre farm growing from vegetables to harvesting coconuts ready to be sold as cooking oil.
Mr Deo is not only taking up his business at the forefront of recognition, but also others who struggle every day to make ends meet.
“I personally know how hard it is to secure markets, and this year by entering the awards for the first time, I want to help farmers like myself be known to Fiji,” he said.
“Living very remotely from all the hush from the suburbs and cities, it is difficult for us to find markets, but if we do so, there are other factors to consider like weather and transportation costs.
“We can only do so much, but at the end of the day, it comes down costs and if my company’s name can take this message in this year’s awards, then all the better for us.”
Mr Deo buys dried copra and fresh ones from the local community in Dreketi and from this, he sells to the major buyer – Punjas & Sons Limited.
But, he said while this was keeping the community busy, the selling price had gone down.
“Back in the days, you could sell a tonne for $1200 but nowadays, the price has been slashed by more than half the price before,” he said.
“It is sad because many have gone out of business because while the demand is high to pay for copra, the labour costs too have to be considered.”
With this, Mr Deo wants to voice to the Fijian Government and stakeholders concerned that they need all the help they can get to stay in business.
“The main message I wish to take to the awards is for Government to consider the plight of hardworking farmers,” he said.
“If there is some kind of incentive that would ensure we stay in business for the next couple of years, then we will look forward to this.”




Fijisun E-edition
Advertise with fijisun
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: