ENTERTAINMENT | Island News

Lal puts money on ginger

By UMENDRA PRATAP Ministry of Primary Industries Lomaivuna in Naitasiri is currently abuzz because many of its farmers are busy harvesting their immature ginger. Ginger is a lucrative income-earner that
04 Mar 2012 11:34

Ravind Lal (right) at his farm in Lomaivuna.

By UMENDRA PRATAP
Ministry of Primary Industries

Lomaivuna in Naitasiri is currently abuzz because many of its farmers are busy harvesting their immature ginger.
Ginger is a lucrative income-earner that farmers in Lomaivuna grow every year and can be harvested prematurely and sold to their specific markets.
One such farmer is a 29-year-old Ravind Vikash Lal of Sector 5 Lomaivuna.
Lal is the talk of the Lomaivuna community as he continues to excel in the business of farming and selling top quality ginger.
He has been farming ginger for the past three years. Compared to past years Ravind says his ginger production this year has been excellent.
“I am still single so I have more time to spend on the farm rather than worrying more about family matters,” Lal said smiling.
Lal says he has learned a lot about farming from his parents when he was young.
“I have been farming for a number of years but the success I got this year is just far beyond my expectations and I think my hard work is beginning to pay off now.”
Lal farms on native lease land and he plans to renew his lease from the money he earns through farming.
Like other farmers in Lomaivuna, Lal plants ginger during the main season. During off season, he concentrates on other cash crops like dalo, cassava, watermelon and assorted vegetables.
“Compared to other crops I think ginger is a better crop in terms of crop management.”
Last year Lal planted three acres of ginger on a new piece of land and he expects to harvest about 35 tonnes of immature ginger.
“I was lucky to receive some assistance last year from the provincial administrators office in terms of land preparations.”
Once ginger is harvested, market for this crop is not a problem for Lal because he has already obtained a quota from Fresh Pack Limited; all harvested ginger from his farm will be bought by the company.
“We usually have labourers’ working on the farm and during peak time we have about 30 to 40 men working on the farm.”
Farmers in Lomaivuna usually pay $2 per labourer to harvest one bag of ginger. Some labourers can harvest 10 to 15 bags in one day and earn about $20 to $30.
He said looking for labourers was not a problem because many unemployed villagers were more than willing to help him at any cost.
“Currently we are selling immature ginger for 90 cents a kilogram. It is easy to sell it to one buyer rather than running around looking for potential buyers. It saves us time that we can use on the farm to produce more crops,” Lal said.
There are 222 contracted farmers with Fresh Pack Limited and Lal is one of them. These farmers collectively are expected to produce and supply around 200,000 tonnes of ginger this year.
He has plans to build his own house from the income of his ginger and is determined to continue farming for an assured future.
Meanwhile Senior Agriculture Officer (Naitasiri), Aporosa Lalabalavu said Lal was one of the best ginger farmers in the province this year.
“Ravind has used the assistance provided to him in a very productive manner and he is urging all the farmers to learn from him,” Lalabalavu said.
“Even though there were some difficulties faced by ginger farmers this year, Lal defied all odds to be a successful ginger farmer.”



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