Fathers Inspire Tailevu Women To Venture Into Farming

Angela Amrita Prasad and Shareen Lata Prasad were guests at the gender supported programme hosted by the New Zealand High Commission at the Fijian Museum in Suva on July 13.
23 Jul 2022 14:59
Fathers Inspire Tailevu Women To Venture Into Farming
Vanilla farmers from Tailevu Alitiana Yabakiviti (left), Shareen Prasad, Salote Madraitabua(fourth from left) and Angela Prasad (far right), with New Zealand Prime Minister Zealand Jacinda Ardern at the Fiji Museum in Suva on July 13, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Angela Amrita Prasad and Shareen Lata Prasad were guests at the gender supported programme hosted by the New Zealand High Commission at the Fijian Museum in Suva on July 13.

Both women hail from Waidalice, Korovou, in Tailevu, and are proud of their achievements.

Poultry farmer

Ms Angela believes every person has a purpose in life. To find hers, she chose to listen to her heart.

Angela Prasad tending to her chicks.

Angela Prasad tending
to her chicks.

She never thought she would venture into farming and build a passion for poultry business.

Ms Angela is the eldest of four siblings. Her late father used to do grog business and poultry farming.

“My father wasn’t too educated but still he managed well with his business and poultry farm. He used to do everything with love and patience.”

Ms Angela’s parents have passed on but the sacrifices they made have paid of well.

The parents, Ms Angela said, had struggled to get Angela and her four siblings educated and married.

Now, she supports her husband and three children with their day-to-day expenses through the poultry farming income.

“I used to sell ice blocks from home, work as a cashier and did tailoring for a few years. I started farming from home in 2003. I used to do vegetable farming just to get through life,” she said.

Being a market vendor for almost four years at Korovou, Tailevu Mar­ket, was helpful to make ends meet.

“When Tropical Cyclone Win­ston hit in 2016, my farm got dam­aged severely I thought of raising chicks, I started with one dozen and kept selling a dozen for a while and then I realised the demand in the market was high.

“I increased the numbers to two dozen and I kept increasing it. I ap­plied for the government grant in 2017 and received a $1000.

“My husband helped extend the fence and then I bought 50 chicks, and then went to 100 and then 1000s,” she said.

She is thankful to the Government and Ministry of Agriculture for its help.

“Without the government grant, I would not have been able to keep up with my farming,” she said.

The Ministry of Agriculture guid­ed her on how to look after the farm better, as officers check around and advises her on how to improve or keep on the right track.

Ms Angela proud of how far she has come and considers herself fortunate to be invited for breakfast with the ministers.

Her message of advice is to have belief in yourself because it is the first and basic step to success.

“Hard work is the key for success.

There will be some ups and downs, but everything happens for a reason. It truly feels amazing when we earn through hard work.”

Vanilla farmer

Ms Shareen, 38, along with 12 other women, ventured into vanilla farming a year ago.

Vanilla farmer Shareen Prasad

Vanilla farmer Shareen Prasad

Ms Shareen also supports her husband in their dairy farm.

She was inspired by her father also to do dairy farming four years ago, and now has ventured into vanilla projects.

“Being from a farming background has kept me interested in farming. My dad is a dairy farmer,” she said.

“My husband started dairy farming four years and I was part of a group of women who were into farming.

“Last year, during the lockdown period, we got to know about vanilla farming through the Agriculture office in Tailevu.

“The group of 13 women received 50 vanilla cuttings from the Ministry of Agriculture. Today, we all have our own vanilla farm, which should be ready in a few years’ time.

“My husband and I manage the dairy farm, which has 13 cows: it’s our only source of income for now. But our vanilla will be ready in two years, and soon we will also be able to sell the vanilla cuttings, which can cost $1 a metre.”

“I wouldn’t have made it to breakfast with the ministers if I chose to not do anything, it really felt amazing to be out there.

“Women should have something on our hands, it feels good to support our family,” Ms Shareen said.


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