SUNBIZ

Vee’s Fight Back To Build Her Business

Today her 12-acre farm, with over $90,000 in investment, at Wailoko Road, in Sabeto Nadi is a testament and a lesson to people who have suffered major health issues.
05 Feb 2020 13:51
Vee’s Fight Back To Build Her Business
From left: Minister for Industrial Relations, Employment, Productivity, Youth and Sports, Parveen Bala and Vitilia Vuniwaqa having a look at some of her pure coconut oil and honey products. Photo: Charles Chambers

Vitilia Vuniwaqa’s inspirational resurgence from the upbeat life of a flight attendant was cut abruptly after suffering from a stroke.

It was from this unfortunate experience that made her determined to fight back by having her own organic farm.

For Ms Vuniwaqa commonly known as Vee, this was nothing but a miracle.

Today her 12-acre farm, with over $90,000 in investment, at Wailoko Road, in Sabeto Nadi is a testament and a lesson to people who have suffered major health issues.

Business expansion

The business is expanding every year with a new venture which started last year.

With the farm set against the backdrop of the Sabeto mountain range, Ms Vuniwaqa started a different line of business.

“I managed to start a hiking business and now tourists are coming and hiking up the mountains guided by my staff through this business.”

Ms Vuniwaqa was a flight attendant with the then Air Pacific and everything seemed to be going well for her.

“In February 2010, I was running errands after coming back from the company office and was at my friend’s place in Nasoso, Nadi when I collapsed,” she said.

“That’s when my whole life changed.

“I was like a baby again, could not speak or do anything.”

She spent time at Nadi and CWM Hospitals, but I felt I had to go back to Nadi and force myself to do some exercises.

Ms Vuniwaqa went for further medical checks at a hospital in New Delhi in India and was asked to do a lot of exercises.

She came back and decided she was not going to sit around and pity herself.

Taking baby steps

“I was determined to do something and the first thought was looking for a farm to grow some organic produce.”

She paid $8000 for the land and in January 2015 with two honey bees boxes, began her business.

“I also planted cassava, lemon grass, lemons, water melons, kumala, passion fruit, pineapples, Rotuman coconuts.

“Every year after, I expanded with more bee boxes and extra plants to where it is today.

“It was hard and challenging but I kept telling myself I was going to do it and get this done.”

Products

Ms Vuniwaqa also makes pure coconut oil, honey products, including cream at her home on the farm.

“I have two staff working fulltime.”

Of the total area for the farm, four acres have already been planted and she is continuing to clear bushes and expand more.

Last week, under a climate change project organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, over 50 yasi trees were planted by youth who had converged on the farm.

Ms Vuniwaqa has encouraged people who have gone through similar health problems not to give up as there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Feedbackcharles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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