Businesswoman Finds New Path With Planting

‘There’s a perception that planting is not for business people, however, this is a stereotype that must be broken.’
24 Apr 2020 10:44
Businesswoman Finds New Path With Planting
Roshni Gerber at her plant nursery. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Roshni Gerber has always been an outdoors person with a passion for gardening and cooking.

She has her own little nursery which she started last year. Today, she is investing more time in planting.

The Nadroga native has been the proprietor of Le Cafe Restaurants at Sigatoka Town and Korotogo since the 1990s. Four years ago she moved into operating a mobile coffee shop called ‘Cravings’, based on Sunset Strip, at Korotogo.

With the most restaurant and hotel operators hit hard by the sharp decline in tourist numbers, Mrs Gerber has been forced to temporarily close her business until the economic situation improves.

Garden planting has actually allowed her to continue to be active while providing free organic ingredients for her cooking.

“There’s a perception that planting is not for business people, however, this is a stereotype that must be broken,” she said.

“Planting can be quite therapeutic. It can help improve both your physical and mental health. All while acquiring a new skill.

“It is a great opportunity for us to go back to our roots when our ancestors would grow everything they needed right in their backyard. I would love to see more Fijian people venture into growing herbal medicines. Fijian medicines are very powerful and it is time to invest in plant-based medicines because western medicines are not always affordable.”

Her crops include basil, mint, sage, oregano, cinnamon, coriander, cocoa, coffee, tomatoes, moringa, chilli, broccoli, dalo, cassava, pumpkin, corn, avocado, pawpaw, passion fruit, pomegranate, pineapple, banana, sour-sop, aloe vera, hybrid coconut, hybrid mango, hybrid guava, valencia orange, cam cot, bush lemon, seedless lime, kavika, sandalwood and many flowers, including ferns and palms.

She added that in the past, rural households would produce most of their own food, however with modernisation came an increase in a dependence on market purchases, leading to a decrease in subsistence farming

“As such, there is an urgent need to increase the productivity of subsistence farming to ensure long-term food security in Fiji. Planting your own crops is an excellent way to fight COVID-19,” she said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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