Choy a living testimony that hard work pays
He is a living example of a dedicated cane grower who began working on his father’s cane farm at the age of 13.
Now 80, Narayan Choy of Buabua, Lautoka, still chuns out the hard yards on his farm.
Last week, he harvested a record 500 tonnes of cane from one of his farms, the highest tonnage in 19 years since acquiring the farm.
Mr Choy’s lifestyle has not changed.
He is out of bed at 4:30am daily, to prepare breakfast and lunch for his children, before he heads off to tend to his cane farm.
For him, honest work, dedication, a teetotaller and nonsmoker habits are the keys to his longevity.
Mr Choy lost his wife Damyanthi, 77, in January this year.
Undeterred, he carries on from where she left off.
“I know many young men from cane farming areas want to leave the farm and work outside,” Mr Choy said.
Sons on the farm
“I believe our sons should be encouraged to help their parents on the cane farms if they have no work, because one day they will take over the reins.
“One of my sons, Karunagaran Choy, 52, works at a company in Lautoka while the younger one, Shamal Choy, works with me on the farm.” In 1947, Mr Choy completed primary education before he joined his father on the cane field.
“I did everything including ploughing with bullocks, fertilise the fields with bare hands, and assist in cane cutting and loading the rail trucks.
“People may think it is hard work – people normally work eight hours a day - but as a cane farmer you spend around two to three hours in the morning on the farm and same as the afternoon.” Mr Choy said work on the farm was made easier these days with mechanical harvesters, cane planting equipment and boom sprayers. He has two farms at Buabua, adjacent to the farm his father owned.
He purchased the 10-acre farm in 1991 from another cane farmer - a field that produced 449 tonnes last year and a record 500 tonnes recently.
In 2007, he bought a second farm.
The 9.25 acres last year produced 379 tonnes, and 335 tonnes this year.
Mr Choy has called upon young unemployed men to get involved in cane farming.