OR­GANIC FARMER GETS BEST PRAC­TICES AWARD

Fiji Sun - - Nations - ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA Edited by Kar­alaini Waqanidrola arieta.vakasukawaqa@fi­jisun.com.fj

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

Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

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.

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