Cost of weedicide an area of concern.

Vinod Autar uses a hoe on his vegetable farm in Muaniweni, Naitasiri on Monday, November 28, 2022. Picture: ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA

VEGETABLE and root crop farmers in Muaniweni and Nasi, Naitasiri want the same assistance that is provided to sugarcane growers.

And the issues they face could determine how they vote in the 2022 General Election.

Farmers claimed they have gone back to the old methods of farming simply because they could not afford weedicides and other chemicals needed to grow their crops.

The Fiji Times was in the area this week when they raised the issue of how the cost of weedicide and fertiliser has increased significantly over the past two years.

They also claimed the new weedicide that has replaced paraquat was harmful to their crops.

A vegetable farmer, Sur Sen, said he hoped the government that would come into power after the upcoming polls would provide them the same assistance given to canegrowers.

“One of the major problems we are facing is the cost of fertiliser and weedicide, it needs to be reviewed and made affordable,” the 62-year-old said.

“Some of the fertilisers we want are only made available to canefarmers and we also want paraquat to be brought back because it was good for dalo farming.

“Weedicides cost around $17 a litre and I need around five to four bottles for my farm.

“Fertilisers cost $125 a 50kg bag and I need two bags for a one acre farm, last week I bought 20kg of fertilisers for $72 for the dalo farm.

“We want the government that comes after the general election to subsidise the cost of fertilisers and weedicides or to decrease the prices.”

He said they were using hoes to remove unwanted plants and weeds because weedicides were costly.

“The work done in just few minutes, now we have to do it for hours under this scorching heat.”

Another farmer, Vinod Autar, said he has resorted to using a hoe because weedicides were harmful to his crops.

Weedicides used to cost $8 to $9 and fertilisers $35 to $40 two years ago.

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