Ten-year bond be­tween cane cut­ter and farmer

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

ALau­toka cane farming fam­ily and a group of Namosi cane cut­ters’ 10-year re­la­tion­ship has de­vel­oped into a strong bond.

Raynil Vikash Chand, 26, who help run his fam­ily farm at Vi­togo, said his fam­ily did not want to change their har­vest­ing group.

He vis­its the cane cut­ters vil­lages in Namosi each year be­fore har­vest­ing be­gins.

“We will never hire any other cane cut­ters as long as they are here,” Mr Chand said.

Be­ing a leader

Ne­tani Kainai­lega, 56, who is the leader of the nine-men cane cut­ting team, said for him it was im­por­tant that he did his part for his fam­ily, as Gov­ern­ment was do­ing its share to as­sist the peo­ple.

“I am talk­ing about ed­u­ca­tion where Gov­ern­ment has lifted a big bur­den off by pro­vid­ing free ed­u­ca­tion and as­sist­ing stu­dents in many ways and it in­cludes my chil­dren.

“I have a child at­tend­ing Fiji Na­tional Univer­sity and an­other at the Univer­sity of the South Pa­cific. “They are as­sisted by Gov­ern­ment.

“I plant dalo and other pro­duce back in my vil­lage of Naqarawai, but these take some months be­fore it ma­tures, so in be­tween I have al­ways been com­ing to cut cane.

“It is hard work and also dif­fi­cult leav­ing my fam­ily back in Namosi as I am away for about six months but I have to do this to sup­port my fam­ily.”

Obli­ga­tions

“We as i-Taukei need to ful­fil these obli­ga­tion.

That is why there is a need for us to work and earn money, even if it means earn­ing far from home and leav­ing the fam­ily be­hind.” Mr Kainai­lega said cane cut­ting was not for the faint-hearted. “Com­ing from Namosi, you have to have a strong willpower to leave your fam­ily, stay at a farm house and work hard.”

He said the Chand fam­ily had been good to them over the years and ev­ery year he helped gather the young men from nearby vil­lagers to travel down to Lau­toka.

“I have never cut cane any­where else and this shows the treat­ment his fam­ily gives us.”

Photo: Charles Cham­bers

From left: Ne­tani Kainai­lega, Raynil Vikash Chand and Paula Vatu­ni­boke at their farm house in Vi­togo, Lau­toka.

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