Ten-year bond between cane cutter and farmer
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.”
“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.”
From left: Netani Kainailega, Raynil Vikash Chand and Paula Vatuniboke at their farm house in Vitogo, Lautoka.