ORGANIC FARMER GETS BEST PRACTICES AWARD
Twenty-nine-year old farmer, Pranil Bhai of Kulukulu Settlement at the outskirts of Sigatoka Town earned $357,200 in 2014 to 2016 from his organic farm.
Yesterday the father of two was awarded the Best Farm Practice plaque at this year’s Western Farmers Awards at Tokatoka Resort in Nadi.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the semi-commercial farmer was awarded the top prize for adopting good agriculture practices on his 11 acre farm on crown land where he planted high value crops without the use of chemicals.
He won $400, a certificate and a plaque for his achievement.
Mr Bhai said it was an honour to be recognised for his hard work by the Government through the Ministry for Agriculture.
He also thanked them for their technical assistance over the past years. Mr Bhai had left his job at a water bottle factory at Natadola, to take up organic farming.
“I was paid $9.35 an hour with my last job and when I started farming, my earnings tripled,” Mr Bhai added.
He has been a farmer the last eight years and most of his crops are supplied to hotels and restaurants along the Coral Coast.
“I want to encourage young men to start looking to the land for their source of income because I am a living testimony of that,” he said. With the earnings he made from farming, he had managed to build his home, purchased a car and a grocery shop now managed by his wife. Mr Bhai said his main farm produce was lettuce which was supplied to a few prominent five star hotels in the Western Division.
“I sell around 200 kilograms every week and from that I usually earn more than $1000,” he said.
Mr Bhai said that he planned to extend his farm and build a chicken shed in which he hopes to start a poultry business.
“I am also planning to start planting herbs as these are in demand from hotels,” he said.
“I divert the money I make towards my children’s education.”
I want to encourage young men to start looking to the land for their source of income because I am a living testimony of that Pranil Bhai Sigatoka organic farmer
Pranil Bhai (left), receives his Best Farm Practice of the Year award from Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Jitendra Singh, during the Western Farmers Awards function at Tokatoka Resort in Nadi on November 10, 2017.