NATION

Villagers Fret Over Future Of Pandanus Plantations

The future for the voivoi plantation is looking bleak – Mikaele Liga Climate change is having a big effect on the daily lives of Narikoso Villagers on Ono, Kadavu. The
22 Aug 2018 10:00
Villagers Fret Over  Future Of Pandanus  Plantations
Resina Turagabeci in the process of mat weaving in her house in Narikoso, Ono in Kadavu on August 20, 2018. Photo: Sheenam Chandra

The future for the voivoi plantation is looking bleak – Mikaele Liga

Climate change is having a big effect on the daily lives of Narikoso Villagers on Ono, Kadavu.

The village, which is renowned throughout Kadavu for its voivoi (pandanus leaf) plantations has been severely affected by the rising sea levels. Voivoi is used by women in rural, remote and maritime areas in the weaving of mats.

However, rising seawater intrusion has meant that the villagers’ plantations are being slowly decimated.

Retired primary school teacher Mikaele Liga explained during a tour to a voivoi plantation: “Seawater has been seeping into the voivoi plantation and it has affected the roots of the plants. Over time the salt water will kill the plants.”

Mr Liga said people from neighbouring villages and islands used to visit Narikoso and exchange fish and dalo for voivoi.

“In the late 1990s until now, people from neighbouring villages, using gallons of fuel just to travel to Narikoso to buy voivoi,” he said.

“But since the rising in sea level and the salt water intrusion has slowly been damaging the roots of the voivoi plants.”

He told the Fiji Sun that harvesting and transportation of voivoi was done by men and women of the village.

“It is a hard job so the workload is shared among the men and women of Narikoso. It is the only village on Ono, which involves both men and women in the process.”

The future for the voivoi plantation is looking bleak. There is only one voivoi plantation, but it is slowly deteriorating.

Meanwhile, Resina Turagabeci has been weaving mats for more than 40 years at Narikoso. She has been noticing the rise in sea level and it has been worrying her.

“I go to the voivoi plantation to cut the leaves, recently the number of leaves that I am cutting is getting less,” she said.

Her main source of income is selling mats. She usually makes $300 a week from selling mats.

When asked how she would continue with her mat weaving if the water entirely infiltrated the voivoi plantation, she answered;

“Wherever we relocate, I will take some voivoi plants to plant it there because I have to continue weaving mats for me and my family.”

She taught her two daughters to weave mats because she wanted them to continue her legacy.

Edited by Epineri Vula

sheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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