Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Villagers Cash in on Delicacy Sales

Fiji Times News
by Maneesha Karan

THE sale of a delicacy from the sea is helping several families from some villages in Macuata Province in meeting their daily needs.

People from Naduri village and its neighbouring villages have been raking in huge income during the holidays by selling beche-de-mer.

Naduri villager Naibuka Lata told The Fiji Times that beche-de-mer or sea cucumber was one of the popular sales during the festive period. "A villager can earn about $150 in a day by selling fresh harvested beche-de-mer at $7 and $8 a kilogram," he said. "Dried beche-de-mer rakes in a higher income and is sold at about $20 a kilogram.

"Before the holidays, one could just see numerous lanes of beche-de-mer being dried out in the sun." "However, the demand for sea cucumber increased during the holidays and many traders are buying the freshly harvested ones every morning," said Mr Lata.

Naduri village headman Joseva Kosoi said men and women harvested beche-de-mer daily but were restricting the catch to avoid exploitation. Mr Kosoi said the villagers were cautious of the areas where they needed to limit harvest so that beche-de-mer does not recede completely. "The supply of beche-de-mer has remained steady over the past few years because we don't want to harvest the small ones in greed of money."

"The divers are well aware of the spots where they can harvest beche-de-mer and the spots that need not to be harvested for a while.

"The villagers at the village have no problem in selling beche-de-mer or finding a fixed market because they are visited almost every morning by Chinese and Indo-Fijian companies, who pay the villagers in cash," said Mr Kosoi.

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