SUNBIZ

Farmer Earns $20k With Tobacco

Forty-year-old Votualevu farmer, Dhirendra Nath,  has no regrets being a farmer. Mr Nath, who has been a tobacco farmer for two years, said he was able to make more than
28 Jun 2017 13:25
Farmer Earns $20k With Tobacco
BAT Fiji Leaf growing Manager, Khondoker Martin with farmer Esiromi Ketenilagi.

Forty-year-old Votualevu farmer, Dhirendra Nath,  has no regrets being a farmer.

Mr Nath, who has been a tobacco farmer for two years, said he was able to make more than $20,000 from his tobacco crop this year.

“I am thankful to the British American Tobbaco (BAT) Fiji for helping me with the technical and financial assistance required to improve my farming practices,” He said.

Mr Nath is a commercial farmer and plants vegetables, cowpeas, bele, rosella leaves and other crops for export.

Grateful for the technical expertise received throughout the crop season from BAT, he said:  “This has helped me to achieve high yield not just in tobacco but in other cash crops as well.”

BAT Fiji’s Leaf growing manager Khondoker Abdul Matin said:  “Mr Nath has been one of the company’s contracted farmers who has benefited from the good agricultural practices that the company has been promoting.

“We take farmers on a contract basis and per their performance, their contracts are renewed. Our farmer numbers have been on the rise and this is a good indication of our relationship with the farmers. We assist the farmers in every step possible from the seedling to the harvesting process.”

Esiromi Ketenilagi, another tobacco and cash crop farmer from Bila, in Sigatoka, praised Government initiatives.

Apart from the money that he made from his tobacco farms, Mr Ketenilagi was able to supplement this with other cash crop supplies  from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The ministry had provided seedlings to farmers in the Sigatoka area.

BAT Fiji also carries out community projects for the farming settlements with the aim of assisting villagers and improving their standard of living.

BAT Fiji General Manager Ritesh Dass added Government support showing farsightedness in safeguarding local investments and encouraging long term investments in the country.

Mr Dass said while economic integration offers potential solutions to overcome the South Pacific region’s disadvantages in terms of location, geography and size, trade liberalisation should be gradual because of revenue concerns and the need to sustain local jobs and investments.

“There are hundreds of Fijians employed with us and thousands of workers involved in the leaf farms.

“With a significant economic contribution that we make, we also have a major portion of the value generated from the local tobacco industry that benefits the people of Fiji.

“We have a world class factory and local leaf growing operations in Fiji.”

He added the inclusion of their industry in the Pacer Plus would have resulted in a review of the factory footprint to remain commercially competitive.

EDITED BY: IVAMERE NATARO

Feedback:  selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj



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