Island News

Farmer Finds Strength In Loyal Support From Family

Not only yaqona farming, he and his family also know the benefits of varying their range of products, so they also cultivate root crops, especially dalo farming.
14 Mar 2020 10:02
Farmer Finds Strength In Loyal Support From Family
Ilisoni Tikotikoca at his farm in Vuna, Taveuni, on March 12, 2020. Photo: Fiji Sun

Ilisoni Tikotikoca has come to realise that the strength of family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.He attributed his success in life to the never ending loyal support he gains from his family every day, from dawn to dusk.

As main provider in his extended family of about 20 members, Mr Tikotikoca started serious yaqona farming four years ago knowing the good returns if he invested his time tilling the land.

Not only yaqona farming, he and his family also know the benefits of varying their range of products, so they also cultivate root crops, especially dalo farming.

“I plant dalo, sometimes also French beans, chillies, eggplant, spinach, pawpaws, tomatoes and there is breadfruit, avocado, citrus fruits. So food security is not a worry,” he said.

Originally from Vuna Village, Mr Tikotikoca has opted to stay at Waimaqera in Taveuni.

Having studied Diploma in Business Management at Fiji Institute of Technology (now the Fiji National University Derrick campus in Samabula) the knowledge gained is of great help, but it’s the reliable family help that motivates him to forge ahead.

“I always enjoy loyal support from my family and my wife is a pillar of strength,” he said.

“Family is like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”

His ultimate goal is to ensure a better standard of living for his family.

His passion for farming has made him start his days early in the morning and work until late in the plantations.

The modern-day farmer has come a long way in life and has seen so many agricultural developments take place over the decades.

“With farming, I can work according to my own time. In any profession time management is of the essence,” he said.

He now looks forward to the day he will harvest 2000 organic kava plants and reap the fruits of labour from his dalo and vegetable gardens.

For income, he supplies vegetables to resorts and local markets, sells kava and dalo for wholesale and runs a small stall.

The jackpot will be his yaqona sales later down the line.

District Officer Taveuni Dausiga Nakaora confirmed the work done by Mr Tikotikoca and told of the benefits farmers like him enjoy.

“We know of the lucrative price farmers get for yaqona and dalo, but the good thing is that buyers of their products are here on the island,” he said.

“My officer works with the Ministry of Agriculture to help these farmers. We encourage them to utilise the land for income-generating and to help their families.”

But, over the years it has become apparent to Mr Tikotikoca and Mr Nakaora that family farms and small businesses are the backbone of our communities and family survival.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: renu.prasad@fijisun.com.fj



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