Sigatoka

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Sigatoka welcome sign. Sigatoka-Fiji-Welcome-Sign.jpg
Sigatoka welcome sign.
Sigatoka Town Centre Sigatoka.jpg
Sigatoka Town Centre
Sigatoka Bus Station Sigatoka Bus Station.jpg
Sigatoka Bus Station
Sigatoka River. SigatokaRiver.jpg
Sigatoka River.

Sigatoka (pronounced as Singatoka) 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 kilometres from Nadi. In Fiji's last census (2017) the population of Sigatoka was at 17,622. [1] Sigatoka is the principal urban centre for the province of Nadroga-Navosa.

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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 kilometres 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.

History

Sigatoka has a long history of settlement dating to 1000 BCE, when indigenous tribal chiefs occupied the area. In the period of contact, European settlers explored Sigatoka when they made it as part of Colonial Fiji.

Today, Sigatoka thrives as a agricultural hub of Fiji, which elected its democratic government in 2001.

Governance

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 Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) and the National Federation Party (NFP). The new council re-elected Ratu Isikeli Tasere as Mayor, a position held for a one-year term, renewable any number of times.

In 2009, the Military-backed interim government dismissed all municipal governments throughout Fiji and appointed special administrators to run the urban areas. As of 2015, elected municipal government has not been restored. The special administrator of Sigatoka is Aisea Tudiraki. The Town Council CEO is Anand Sami Pillay.

Agriculture

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′S177°30′E / 18.150°S 177.500°E / -18.150; 177.500

Education

Sigatoka is also known for many education institutes. It has a number of primary and secondary schools. It has the St Joan of Arc Primary School, Sigatoka Methodist Primary School and Sigatoka Methodist Secondary (High) School, Cuvu college,St Teresa of Lisiuex primary and Lisiuex college (formerly known as Bemana Catholic Primary and Secondary School), 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). Sigatoka Andhra Hisgh School currently holds the second highest pass rate following Nadroga Arya 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

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 Farebrother-Sullivan 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

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 centre of the town.

Economy

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, Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa (IHG), Shangri-La's Fijian Resort, 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 tourism 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

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References

  1. "Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics – Official Statistics for Fiji". Statsfiji.gov.fj. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. 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" (PDF). Plant Disease. 87 (3): 208–222. doi:10.1094/PDIS.2003.87.3.208. PMID   30812750.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. 'FNU opens in Sigatoka', Fiji Times, 5 August 2011 http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=176949

Additional sources