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Accountant, MBA Back To His Roots

Switching to farming might not have been easy, but it has been fruitful, says Rajnesh Naicker. An accountant turned farmer, Mr Naicker realised his calling for the farm in 2012.
19 Apr 2021 10:30
Accountant, MBA Back To His Roots
Rajnesh Naicker and his sugarcane farm in Buabua, Lautoka.

Switching to farming might not have been easy, but it has been fruitful, says Rajnesh Naicker.

An accountant turned farmer, Mr Naicker realised his calling for the farm in 2012.

Leaving his job as part of the administrative team at Superfoods Supermarket Limited , Mr Naicker purchased a farm in Buabua, Lautoka.

He realised there was a shift in focus towards agriculture.

“The Government was focusing particularly on agriculture, so I made the decision to turn my passion for farming into a business,” he said.

Mr Naicker said he has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Fiji but farming is in his blood.

“My grandparents were from farming backgrounds and we have a history of farming in the family, so the love for farming was always there.”

Regardless of his passion, Mr Naicker said toiling the land did not come off as easy.

“Two to three years after purchasing the land, I had to prepare it so it would be suitable for farming.

“I was supported by the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji in terms of looking for seedlings, and technicalities of planting.”

He said he also sought support from Sugar Cane Growers Fund through which he was able to get capital for his farm.

Mr Naicker owns a 26-acre farm.

He has dedicated 14 acres to his cane farm.

He said he harvests 300 tonnes of sugar cane on average yearly.

Over the years, he has also diversified into cattle farming, cash crops, and recently, poultry and goat farming.

“I also employ three labourers, of which one is a full-time employee while other two join in when more man power is needed.”

He highlighted his farm utilised machinery well, with harvesting being completely mechanical.

 

Challenges
Mr Naicker said climate change is a major challenge for his farm.

“When tropical cyclones hit, the cane is damaged and there is nothing we can do about it.”

“So, we lose that income.”

He highlighted the cane payment system also needed to be relooked at.

“Sugarcane is a one year yield. So, after one year of planting and then harvesting, we receive our payments in five installments.”

“However, there is a significant amount of time which elapses between our harvest and last payment so a quicker payment system would be better.”

“And it would also retain a lot of farmers from going to other agricultural practices like cash crops.”

 

Rewards
He said working as a farmer was a healthier option for him.

“I find it better than working in any office,” he said.

“Even the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected agriculture like it has impacted other sectors.”

He said the global pandemic instead showed the importance of agriculture and also the importance of diversifying into other agricultural products.

Mr Naicker highlighted his turnover from farming not only helped in his loan repayments, but has been enough to sustain his livelihood and his farm.

 

Feedback: shreya.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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