Island News

From sacks to riches

Written By : Source: FIJI DEVELOPMENT BANK. When you enter Savusavu Market, it is hard not to miss Ravindra Kumar Lal’s stall. Packets of dried peas, lentils and spices are
03 Dec 2010 12:00

image Written By : Source: FIJI DEVELOPMENT BANK.

When you enter Savusavu Market, it is hard not to miss Ravindra Kumar Lal’s stall.
Packets of dried peas, lentils and spices are arranged in a colourful assortment across the table.
It beckons you to stop and take a look.
That curious peek soon leads to buying something.
Along the bottom of the stall stacked in neat rows like levees along the mighty Mississippi during typhoon season, are folded empty sacks that once were filled with mill mix, rice and flour.
Ravin, 45, as he is affectionately called, is a nifty entrepreneur, having dabbled a hand or two in different business ventures over the years and with much success.
Business at the stall is brisk and concluded quickly over the usual pleasantries.
“I get my spices from Ba. I repackage and sell them here at the market,” Ravin says as he seals off a 500 gram packet of dhal.
“I have been in business for myself since 1999, starting out with a taxi business.
From there I got a stall here at the market to sell dalo, yaqona and assorted vegetables which I was growing on my farm.”
A client of the Fiji Development Bank since 1999 ,when he took a loan for working capital, Ravin has over the years, taken several more loans including that for the purchase of a private vehicle, a taxi, land and building as well as additional working capital.
“With my first loan I bought a piece of land and built my home in 2000,” Ravin said, adding that, “at that time I was also buying and selling beech-de-mer (sucuwalu).”
At the height of the yaqona boom, during the late 90s and the earlier parts of 2000, Ravin took an additional loan for working capital, so he could buy and export yaqona overseas. Since then he has also purchased another taxi and a four-wheel drive to help with his yaqona business.
“What I do now is buy yaqona from farms around Vanua Levu and I export it to Nadi, Lautoka and Ba – to other market vendors and with each shipment I can make about $10,000,” Ravin said.
Ravin said that his long history with FDB stems from the friendly and helpful service he received from the Bank over the years.
In addition to his market stall and the taxi, dalo and yaqona ventures, Ravin discovered a market for empty sacks for copra millers and villagers who need them to fill their produce for transportation.
Not one to let an opportunity like that pass him by, Ravin has a standing arrangement with a supplier in Suva for the direct purchase of these sacks which he retails at $1.50 each to fellow vendors and millers – turning, only as he can, sacks into riches.
At the time of conducting this interview, Ravin was the only supplier of these sacks in Savusavu Market.
Ravin is also the biggest buyer of honey from FDB clients who produce honey for a living.
He retails 750g bottles at his stall for eight dollars each.



5square-mothersday


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