Sigatoka, Fiji

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For the banana disease, see Black sigatoka.

Sigatoka Town Centre
Sigatoka Bus Station
Sigatoka River.

Sigatoka is a town in Fiji. It is found on the island of Viti Levu and is situated at the mouth of the Sigatoka River, after which it is named, some 61 kilometers from Nadi. In Fiji's last census (2007) the population of Sigatoka was at 9622.[1] Sigatoka is the principal urban centre for the province of Nadroga-Navosa.

An ornate temple, open to public and built by Hare Krishna devotees, dominates the Sigatoka skyline. Major tourist attractions include the Sigatoka Sand Dunes near Kulukulu village two kilometers north-west of Sigatoka, and the Kula Eco Park, which houses some 500 birds of 100 species from many tropical countries. The town is also the principal centre for Fiji's coastal tourism belt — the Coral Coast — which hosts many of the country's leading hotels and resorts.

Governance[edit]

Sigatoka was incorporated as a town in 1959, and is governed by a 10-member Sigatoka Town Council, elected for a three-year term. At the last municipal elections, held on 22 October 2005, all 10 seats were won by a coalition of the United Fiji Party (SDL) and the National Federation Party (NFP). The new council reelected Ratu Isikeli Tasere as Mayor, a position held for a one-year term, renewable any number of times. Due to decrees in place by the Republic of the Fiji Islands Government, townships no longer have mayors. The Sigatoka Town Council is now headed by CEO Anand Sami Pillay and Special Administrator Aisea Tudiraki.

Agriculture[edit]

From 1912 to 1923, banana plantations in the Sigatoka Valley suffered severe episodes of a fungal infection known as the Yellow Sigatoka disease.[2] The Black sigatoka, an even more ravaging plant disease, is related.

The Sigatoka Valley is known for its high production of vegetables, and thus referred to as Fiji's "Salad Bowl".

Coordinates: 18°9′S 177°30′E / 18.150°S 177.500°E / -18.150; 177.500

Education[edit]

Sigatoka is also known for many education institutes. It has a number of primary and secondary schools. It has the Sigatoka Methodist Primary School and Sigatoka Methodist Secondary (High) School, Cuvu college, Nadroga-Navosa High School and Andra High School. Majority of the residents in Sigatoka Town would have attended Sigatoka Methodist High School (now Sigatoka Methodist College).

Methodist Primary School is one of the largest primary schools in Sigatoka Town. It has more than one thousand students. There is a ratio of sixty two students per one teacher. Students attend primary school from six years of age. [3]

Sports[edit]

Sigatoka, essentially part of Nadroga province is home to the champion Nadroga Rugby Union team who have won a number of locally sponsored rugby union competitions (no exact figure) and the Lloyd-Farebrother Trophy eighty-one times. Sigatoka is now commonly dubbed as "Rugby Town" due to the provincial rugby team's influence on the Fiji national rugby scene. The town is also home to the Nadroga Soccer Association. Despite all the past glory, the NSA is currently struggling to keep in the top flight due to a number of reasons. Cited by the current President of NSA are financial reasons and poaching of talent to name a few. They managed to secure sixth position in the latest Fiji Football League. Sigatoka is also the home town of Iliesa Delana, Fiji's and the South Pacific's first gold medalist in the Paralympic Games (2012).

Health[edit]

Health care is still primarily state-funded and most people in Sigatoka and Nadroga/Navosa province access public health and medical services which are largely free or with minimal fees. Sigatoka Town has one local hospital (Sigatoka Sub-Divisional Hospital) and there are health centres located in various districts in the province of Nadroga/Navosa. There is a limited number of private medical and dental practitioners located in the center of the town.

Economy[edit]

Sigatoka's economy is largely dictated by the flow-on effects of the broader Nadroga/Navosa economy. Nadroga contains a high concentration of Hotels and Resorts outside of Nadi. There are several resorts in Sigatoka, for example, Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji, Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa, Hideaway Hotel, Naviti Hotel. Recently, there has also been major growth in international residential developments.

Tourism accounts for a large number of employees and provincial development. Nadroga is also regarded and nicknamed the 'Salad Bowl of Fiji', specifically the Sigatoka Valley, which produces a high volume of the nation's fruits, spices and vegetables, both for local consumption and export. Dalo (or Taro), often the domain of Eastern Fiji, is not so widely produced in Nadroga, however, cassava (tapioca) is produced for consumption and export. The province is one of Fiji's sugar producing areas, however the number of farms and production have declined in the past 10 years as farmers seek to diversify their crops and move to more lucrative crop options.[4] Expiring native land leases have also contributed to a decline in sugar production. Cattle (beef) farming used to be a major economic activity led by the government-supported Yalavou Cattle Scheme, however this has also declined in recent years. Sigatoka's economy has benefited from the flow-on effect of touris and agriculture in the greater Nadroga/Navosa province. The town provides an essential service point for hotel industry, hotel workers, farmers and so forth, in terms of provision of wholesale/retail goods, government services, police, utilities and administration. Some of the longest running businesses in Sigatoka are; R Billimoria & Sons, Tappoos, Sigatoka Electric Limited, Pratap Foodhall, MAMP Shop2Save Supermarket, Neels Restaurant, Bhavani Jewellers, Sigatoka Motor Spares and Patel's Hardware to name a few. The international headquarters of Pacific Green Industries (Fiji) Limited is located in Sigatoka.

Prominent Sigatoka people[edit]

  • Abraham Watkins - Famous soccer player- late seventies till the mid nineties, 1988 Sportsman of the year
  • Akapusi Qera - Current Fiji rugby captain, Loosehead flanker, currently playing for Gloucester
  • Napolioni Nalaga - Winger, plays for Clermont rugby
  • Isimeli Batibasaga - Fly half, played in the winning Fiji team against the British Lions in 1977
  • Shailen Singh - Founder CEO, CFO Coffee Pacifica, Growers Direct, attended Cuvu College - lives in Vancouver, Canada
  • Tappoo Kanji - Founder Tappoo group of companies
  • Noa Nadruku - represented Fiji at both league and union
  • Lote Tuqiri - represented Fiji and the Wallabies at both league and union
  • Adi Kuini Speed former MP and wife of former PM Timoci Bavadra
  • Nityalendra Singh - PhD Plasma Physics, attended Cuvu College from 1983- 1987 - lives in the UK
  • Iliesa Delana - Fiji's only gold medal paralympian

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics - Official Statistics for Fiji". Statsfiji.gov.fj. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Marín D. H., Romero R. A., Guzmán M. and Sutton T. B. (2003). "Black sigatoka: An increasing threat to banana cultivation". Plant Disease 87 (3): 208–222. doi:10.1094/PDIS.2003.87.3.208. 
  3. ^ 'FNU opens in Sigatoka', Fiji Times, 5 August 2011 http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=176949

Additional sources[edit]