In 2019 young planters raised concerns as their hard work were stripped by those alleged to have been stealing from their plantations. Earlier this month a Titikaveka grower’s lemon plantation was raided. 19071801
A Rarotongan grower’s lemon plantation was raided leaving them $500 out of pocket.
Mereana Tutai and her husband Travel Tutai had a
quarter of their crops stolen from them in Titikaveka. Mereana estimates it is
about 90 kilograms’ worth of good lemons.
also did was take the new crop that was coming up,” Mereana said.
the young lemons would have been ready in a month or two.
The way the
lemons were stolen also damaged some of the flowers, which would affect the next
crop, Mereana said.
the next crop to be ready in four to five months.
said the person who stole the lemons would have most likely sold it to a
restaurant or a resort in a cash sale.
going for around $5 to $6 kilogram.
“With the tourists back in it’s a big boom at the
moment,” Mereana said.
“Before Covid we were having lots of problems (with
thieves) but the recent plantation we have is quite isolated so I’m not sure
how they found it.”
She said nobody was buying the lemons when the borders
were shut so they weren’t attractive to steal.
Mereana said the hotel and restaurant owners were too
busy to check if the people selling lemons were growers before they purchased
them. She also said a lot of kitchen staff were foreigners who may not be able
to tell if a person was a grower or not.
She said her husband had caught a few people in the
past stealing from them.
Mereana said she had approached the police about the
Both Mereana and her husband have full time jobs and
grow lemons on the side.
Mereana said she wanted to “punish” the person who
stole the fruit by making them work on the plantation so they could know the
effort that goes into growing.