NEWS

Fisherman: Fortunes Turn After Receiving Grant

Not only did fishing bring Meli Kenawai out of poverty, it helped him earn enough money to invest in a new business venture. The 53-year-old initially struggled to keep up
25 Jan 2018 11:10
Fisherman: Fortunes Turn After Receiving Grant
Meli Kenawai fishing in the Laqere River using his net on his boat that is attached with a brand new 18 horsepower engine. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

Not only did fishing bring Meli Kenawai out of poverty, it helped him earn enough money to invest in a new business venture.

The 53-year-old initially struggled to keep up with other better-resourced competitors.

Fed up with competing on a lopsided playing field, the fisherman applied for the Micro and Small Business Grant (MSBG) of $1000 in 2015 in the last push for business success.

When he became a successful applicant in the same year, the first thing Mr Kenawai bought was a new fishing net.

A year later, Mr Kenawai’s boat engine broke, plunging his family and six children into an uncertain future.

Fishing was already a risky business for the Naqarani, Rewa villager back then.

Eventually, he managed to save enough money for a new 18 horsepower boat engine and a freezing unit which allowed him to conduct business from his house in Muanikoso Village, Nasinu – aside from his regular trips to the Laqere Market.

Like a typical business person, Mr Kenawai has been forward-thinking.

With his savings and assistance from wife Arieta Divorese, he managed to acquire cattle and pigs for an animal husbandry project, one year after he received the grant.

“The grant I received really changed my fortunes,” he said.

“If I had a taken a loan from the bank, it would have taken me two years to pay it all back but instead I was able to save enough and invest in another project”

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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