Choy a liv­ing tes­ti­mony that hard work pays

Fiji Sun - - BUSINESS - CHARLES CHAM­BERS Feed­back: charles.cham­bers@ fi­

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.

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