Lifestyle

Tailevu Farmer’s Cocoa Beans Ranks High In France

Apart from planting indigenous trees and fruit trees in his village farm, the 73-year-old also plants vanilla and cocoa beans which are two rare plant commodities found in Fiji today.
28 Feb 2019 13:57
Tailevu Farmer’s Cocoa Beans Ranks High In France
Watisoni Kunauwa with acting director central eastern Apisai Rinamalo at Nabulini Village.

A Tailevu man’s cocoa beans have been rated highly in France.

Last week on his way to the vil­lage to attend the planting 4Million Trees in 4Years initiative consulta­tion, Watisoni Kunauwa received a phone call telling him that the cocoa beans he plants on his farm is considered one of the best in France after being tested.

“The cocoa beans in my nursery were taken all the way to France in order to find out its quality or grade,” he said.

“I was surprised with the phone call I received on my way to the con­sultation today. I also plant other fruit species like avocado pear, var­ious citrus plants, breadfruit, and coconuts to name a few,” he said.

Apart from planting indigenous trees and fruit trees in his village farm, the 73-year-old also plants vanilla and cocoa beans which are two rare plant commodities found in Fiji today.

“Vanilla pods are very difficult to grow here in Fiji but amazingly they are flourishing here in my nursery,” Mr Kunauwa said.

After 35 years of working in the hotel industry Mr Kunauwa re­turned to his village, Nabulini, to toil the land.

Whether he receives Government assistance or not, nothing has dampened Watisoni Kunauwa’s passion for planting as many trees as he possibly can.

The avid gardener has been plant­ing all sorts of tree species.

The father of four has been very supportive of various tree plant­ing programmes in previous years, namely the Asia-Pacific Tree Plant­ing Programme in 2017 and also the 1 Million Trees in 1Year a few years ago.

Everyday Mr Kunauwa begins his program at 5am with a prayer fol­lowed by breakfast and three hours on his farm.

“I believe in putting God first in everything that I do because with­out his guidance and protection over me and my family, I would not be where I am today.”

His wife then travels to Korovou Market to sell root crops and what­ever edible crops that grows on his farm.

“Whatever little income she earns supplements what I get from selling my vanilla pods which today sells for almost $400 a kilogram.

“Many people are not aware about the high demand in vanilla but if I can cultivate it then anyone can. I believe that one has to have a pas­sion in doing anything because if they do not love or enjoy what they do, they will achieve nothing,” the Tailevu farmer said.

He has an outdoor nursery where he grows root crops like dalo ni tana, dalo, vudi and ku­mala and also an indoor nurs­ery where he grows cocoa beans, avocado pear and citrus plants.

 

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