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As Sweet As Pineapples

As Sweet As Pineapples
January 14
10:34 2018

When life gives you lemons, Balbir Singh of Vulagi Settlement, Lawaki in Tailevu, gives you sweet pineapples from his farm.

Mr Singh, who is 50 years of age, was one of the recipients of the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) Small and Medium Enterprises Award in 2015.

After winning the award, he has initiated the Vulagi Farmers Association in 2015 that comprises 12 other farmers from his community of which he is the president.

“Since I have been awarded the FDB award, a lot has changed and now I plan on setting up a pineapple juice extraction business and I am currently talking to FDB regarding another loan,” said Mr Singh.

“Cyclone Winston took a great toll on my farm and the loan really helped us out.

“I have made a gross profit of around $120,000 since then and I only have $7,000 left in repayment from FDB which I will pay up in June.

“Once my loan is approved I want to start exporting my product and the bio-security department has also agreed to provide training for packaging and relevant advice.

“My parents didn’t have the money to send me to university after I completed my foundation in 1987, and now I am 50 and I am financially secure just because of farming.

“My son is also studying agriculture at the Fiji National University and I think it’s the right step forward for him as this is where the money is,” stressed Mr Singh.

He stressed that the Fiji Development Bank’s Small and Medium Enterprises loan scheme has helped him to grow his farming of pineapple and it is a sweet feeling to have achieved so much.

He hopes to get more funds and grow his trade as more people from his community are now interested in going into pineapple farming but sadly he missed the deadline to apply for the FDB awards for this year.

Feedback:  nikhat.khan@fijisun.com.fj

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