Rakiraki Market after Cyclone

I did not think I would return to Rakiraki Market so soon but after Cyclone Winston devastated parts of Fiji I was called to photograph some of the marketplaces on Viti Levu. Beguiled by the blue skies and sunshine it was still clear the damage in Rakiraki area was widespread. The market was pretty much non existent after the council had already bulldozed it flat.Tents have been put up to house some of the market vendors until their buildings are restored. Pineapple vendor Ajay Lal was looking a little worse for wear which was not surprising after he told me his house had been badly damaged by the cyclone. Three weeks after the cyclone Rakiraki township has power restored but it will take months to repair outlying power lines and even longer for crops to get back to full production.

 

 

 

Rakiraki Market before Cyclone

I had the chance to photograph Rakiraki Market working with UN Women in Fiji. Since then it has been flooded (the day after I was there) and now has been severely impacted by Cyclone Winston.  The vendors were very kind and friendly considering I was not there to purchase their produce. The marketplace has no doubt been damaged but worse will be the crops from which the vendors make their income. As seen in Vanuatu, it takes some growers the best part of a year before they get back to similar levels of crops post cyclone.

Any support for Rakiraki and Fiji is sure to be appreciated.

 

Distributing seeds post Cyclone Pam

Getting seeds back in the ground was an urgent need post Cyclone Pam. I was asked by UN Women to photograph one of the seed distribution events at Marobe Market in Efate. Being immersed among two hundred women patiently waiting for their allotment of seeds is something I will not forget in a hurry.

Every person given seeds had their name recorded one by one and Alice Kalo showed amazing patience and resilience to complete the job, writing each name by hand. Some of the seeds were handed out to individuals at the market while others decided to wait until getting home.

The allocation per person was 23 pumpkin seeds, 9 pawpaw seeds, 8 watermelon seeds, 30-40 sweetcorn seeds and approx 35 dwarf bean seeds.

 

Buying Local Food | Murray Lloyd Photograph

The markets will be crammed with lovely fresh produce now spring has arrived and in NZ we can find locally produced food easily. Not so elsewhere.

In Britain, a local government report said a quarter of food could not be verified as local in one county. In North Wales only half the meat sold as Welsh lamb was found to be Welsh and in an English restaurant "Hampshire spring lamb" was sold which was actually from New Zealand.

In Canada the government have changed the criteria on what constitutes local. The government say the food just has to come from within the same province to be called local. In Canada this could mean a 1500km journey. Previously a 50km radius was deemed local.  Here is a funny take on local food.

Oritain is a New Zealand company based in Dunedin specialising in food verification. Their mission statement states Oritain can independently and scientifically verify the origin of food products to a forensic standard. The consumers in Canada and Britain would clearly benefit from their services.