NATION

Women Empowered By New Namaka Market

Viniana Liku, 51, a florist from Nayavu, Tailevu, has been in the business for seven years.
29 Feb 2020 09:18
Women Empowered By New Namaka Market
From left: Viniana Liku, Angie Prasad, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Mere Driu during the opening of the new Namaka Market on February 28, 2020. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The women market vendors say they feel a new sense of empowerment because of the new Namaka Market.

At the opening yesterday, women praised Government’s investment to see Nadi and its people grow.

The market was opened by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Viniana Liku, 51, a florist from Nayavu, Tailevu, has been in the business for seven years.

“In this new market I feel empowered to see the Government do this, I sell flowers from the village, which takes about four hours to reach here by bus,” Ms Liku said.

She collects flowers from growers back home with whom she shares the income with.

Before the new market became a reality, Ms Liku said she was selling flowers under the hot sun.

“The opening of this market has opened my life to new opportunities,” she added.

Mere Driu, 68, of Sabeto sells crops and fresh vegetables.

“We can earn a lot from here with this landmark market and our families will benefit. We thank the Government for the day,” she said.

Angie Prasad, 50 has been selling in Namaka for nearly two decades.

“All we have to do is continue to work hard and grow,” Ms Prasad said.

During the talanoa session with vendors yesterday, Mr Bainimarama told them no one could stop them from selling their produce by the roadside.

He said this while responding to florist, Tomasi Ketenalagi, a vendor at the market, who said those who sell by the roadside don’t pay a fee. But they do.

To this, Mr Bainimarama said: “Florists or anyone are allowed to sell their produce by the roadside, they should never be stopped with their businesses.”

Government invested $4.8 million, with another $400,000 provided from the Australian government through UN-Women.

Mr Bainimarama said: “This market is more than a building; it is a symbol of economic mobility, a place where opportunity can be found and where hard work can deliver big rewards.”

The two-storey market has 288 vendor stalls, 40 beds and office spaces.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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