Lautoka market vendors, who currently operate under tarpaulins outside the municipal market building, will benefit from an extended facility next month.
Government provided $0.5 million to the Lautoka City Council through the Challenge Fund to extend the existing market and construct a proper shed to cater for about 200 vendors.
Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment Parveen Kumar Bala had earlier said the market extension works were done in such a way that it provided more space for vendors and members of the public.
Minister Bala said apart from ensuring that the structure was strong, a lot of attention was paid to improving ventilation in the Lautoka market.
Lautoka City Council chief executive officer, Jone Nakauvadra said the market extension works began last year and they are looking at officially opening it early next month.
Mr Nakauvadra said the new facility will provide an enabling environment for market vendors, which is in line with Government’s efforts to improve access to services for all Fijians.
“The vendors used to sell their produce on the ground and they were not protected from sunshine or rainy conditions. The extended market will ensure vendors, as well as their produce, are protected. Construction works are in the finishing stages and we hope to get the facility ready by the end of this month,” Mr Nakauvadra said.
The $1.5 million market extension will benefit vendors and farmers from as far as Wainibuka, Ra, Nadarivatu, Navosa and the Yasawa Islands.
“Extension works on the municipal market is done in partnership with UN Women, which has provided a funding of $400,000 and the rest was contributed by the city council.
“Lautoka Municipal Market is the Western Division’s largest market, which caters for around 600 vendors. Once complete, all vendors will get equal opportunities to do business in a conducive environment and progress economically,” Mr Nakauvadra said.