SUNBIZ

Sabeto Family Hopes to Rake in Millions Through Grass Project

A Sabeto-based company believe its move to use a certain species of grass imported from Queensland, Aus­tralia to improve the quality of animal meat will pay off in the long
05 Jan 2019 11:00
Sabeto Family Hopes to Rake in Millions Through Grass Project
Charles Chambers

A Sabeto-based company believe its move to use a certain species of grass imported from Queensland, Aus­tralia to improve the quality of animal meat will pay off in the long run.

About Sabeto Company

The sprawling hillsides of Sabeto, about seven and a half kilometres from the Gardens of the Sleeping Giant in Nadi will one day churn out millions of dollars for Moham­ed Sadiq and Sons.

Apart from raising 300 goats, 250 sheep and 200 cattle heads, the company has been working to­wards the Government initiative of the one million tree programme.

It has also ventured into sugar cane farming and harvested close to 4000 tonnes of sugar cane annu­ally from the 100 acres set aside for this.

The company’s Project and De­velopment manager Jim Saukuru said to date, they had planted 20,800 pine seedlings over 19 hec­tares, 5130 mahogany seedlings over 18 hectares and 430 vesi seed­lings over 1.5 hecatares.

The mahogany and vesi timber are high quality timber and would be the money makers when ma­tured.

They have acquired seven leases over 112.1148 hectares of land which belongs to Na Momo Na Tui Sabeto, Ratu Tevita Susu Matai­toga.

While the planting of the seed­lings were supervised by the De­partment of Forests, Mr Saukuru said all the labour costs involved and the purchase of the seedlings were borne by the company.

Assistance from Department of Forestry,

The company felt that to improve the quality of the animals, it need­ed to get the right grass for them to graze on.

“With the help of the Department of Forestry, we managed to bring in the ‘mulato’ brand grass seed­lings from Australia and set up a nursery,” Mr Saukuru said.

The company then hired workers to clear the hillsides of all shrubs and unnecessary trees keeping in mind that no fruit trees were to be destroyed.

“All this was done with the De­partment of Forestry checking and we managed to plant around 100 acres with this grass.”

About Mulato

Mulato is the forage grass adapt­ed to the tropical and sub tropical regions around the world.

It is especially attractive for beef and milk production operations and it also makes excellent hay­lege or dry hay as well.

Mulato was responsible for the revitalisation of the beef industry in Brazil.

The grass is tolerant to drought, recovers fast after grazing, shows high plant vigor, gives good quality forage and is tasty to the animals.

“In the day the animals have formed a routine where they make their way to the hillsides to graze and come back when evening falls.”

The company, for the past six years, has spent $50,000 annu­ally to get the programme off the ground for the animals.

“All we are doing is being done within the laws and this is moni­tored by the Forestry Depart­ment,” Mr Saukuru said.

The company also decided to change the breed of the cattle they had and purchased new breeds from Yaqara Pastoral Company and some other local farmers.

Mr Saukuru said more tree seed­lings would be bought once more land was cleared for replanting of those three different trees.

While Mr Saukuru was not going to comment on the millions of dol­lars the company would receive once the trees matured and more animals were grazing, he was opti­mistic of good returns.

“Right now there is a lot of hard work to be put in and maintain throughout.”

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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