Feature | SUNBIZ

Jenny Seeto Following In Her Late Husband’s Gardening Footstep

Jenny Seeto, Businesswoman, Chair of Investment Fiji Board amongst other executive roles has ventured into backyard farming.
23 May 2020 16:04
Jenny Seeto Following In Her Late Husband’s Gardening Footstep
Jenny Seeto, Businesswoman, Chair of Investment Fiji Board, with her housekeeper Aseri Tinai at her backyard garden at Naivurevure Road, TLTB Subdivision, Tamavua, Suva. Photo: Maraia Vula

Backyard farming is the in thing now.

Jenny Seeto, Businesswoman, Chair of Investment Fiji Board amongst other executive roles has ventured into backyard farming.

The idea to start her backyard garden at her residence at 77 Naivurevure Road, TLTB Subdivision, Tamavua, Suva was in response to what she saw during a work trip in Sydney, Australia in February.

“COVID-19 had started having an impact in the Australian market and I thought well it looks like it’s going to get worse so I should start taking steps and be prepared for the tough times ahead.

“So I decided to start planting vegetables and I did after I returned.

“I am not a vegetable person, but my housekeeper Aseri is and she has been terrific in our joint efforts to establish this garden.

“I am actually following in the steps of my late husband Dixon, who used to love planting plants.

“So, our gardens were always and still are full of flowers and shrubs and fruit trees like lemons, pawpaw, bananas, guavas, oranges, kavikas, dragonfruit and star fruit to name a few.”

Home Gardening Programme

She said it was heartening to hear the words of encouragement from the Minister for Agriculture for people to actually grow vegetables at home and to scale up their Home Gardening Programme.

“During the lockdown, I had spent some of my time at the Investment Fiji office, because we didn’t have a chief executive officer back then.

“We had to practice social distancing at the office.

“There were exporters and other investors who had issues and we had to help them with and we were also doing a survey so we had a core team working at the Investment Fiji site.

“I went to the Investment Fiji office during the lockdown to do work and when I returned home or in the morning I would ensure that I spent time cultivating my home garden.

“We had virgin land in our backyard, it was land that we hadn’t really planted before and this was excellent as we didn’t want to use fertilisers.

“I decided to buy cabbage seeds and french bean seeds from Hop Tiy and plant them there.

“They (Hop Tiy) sell a wide range of other seeds such as long bean, French bean, butter beans, coriander, English cabbage.

“I bought blitzem from Hop Tiy to put around the perimeter of only the cabbage plots to stop the snails and other pests from entering the vegetable area.”

But later Ms Seeto decided to take part in the Agriculture Response Package for COVID-19 which is part of the Home Gardening programme by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“ I am not a gardener by trade but it’s, it’s been really satisfying for us and I’m really happy.

“You know, for me it’s a thrill of having my own garden especially attending it in the mornings.

“I think if you cultivate your land well, and put the seeds in the ground, nature will take its course and let it grow.

“I don’t have any gardening background though as a child, I remember in primary school I would visit my relatives who had farms and plant a bit.

“The seedlings I received from the Ministry of Agriculture were tomatoes, French beans, cowpea, chillies, dhania, cucumber, okra to name a few.

“I don’t know what the value of the Ministry’s seed package is but I thought I should also give someone else the benefit of what I received from the Ministry so I gave Aseri’s mother, some money to help her buy seeds and grow vegetables in the village.

“I started planting in March and now we have started harvesting.

“I’m finding it really rewarding and I’m really happy when I see the results of what has been achieved and over a period of two and half months from March to April.

“We started our initial planting from a small patch in March and extended to a bigger patch and the fruits of our labour are ready for harvesting.

“I feel growing vegetables is simple because it’s just your sweat lovingly tending the garden.

“The seeds are not that expensive to buy.

“At the end of the day, especially when you’re in a lockdown period or you can’t get out of the house, you don’t need to go out to look for vegetables which are so important for our diet.

“You can grow your own vegetables and get them from the garden whenever you want to.

“I think we tend to waste a lot of vegetables when we go to the market and buy a whole week’s supply of vegetables and they are not as kept as fresh and there is wastage.

“So if you grow your own vegetables in your garden, it’s fresh and organically grown.

“You can control your consumption.”

Mrs Seeto said in the next few days, she plans to reciprocate the vegetables she grew to her friends who actually gave her vegetables during the lockdown period.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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