Passion for the job

A LAUTOKA man left a career in accounting to enter sugarcane farming, thanks to government support and grower empowerment programs funded by the EU.

Rajnesh Naicker, an accountant by profession with a Masters in Business Administration, said he had no regrets since seriously taking up sugarcane farming a few years ago.

“I entered the industry without any knowledge but it was through my own initiative and the support of industry stakeholders that I have progressed quite well on my farm,” the 39-year-old said.

Mr Naicker was one of two leader cane growers selected to speak at the launch of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Establishing a Farmer Field School: A Handbook for Fiji’s Sugar Industry — a EU-funded project.

He harvests about 500 tonnes on his 14-acre farm in Buabua on the outskirts of Lautoka.

The Lautoka grower was one of the first to undergo SPC’s Farmer Field School training where he picked up farming best practices and established his farm.

“I have taken on sugarcane farming and turned it into a business.

“I do cattle, vegetable and pineapple farming and this is part of the Farmer Field School training that we received.”

Mr Naicker said because of the SPC training initiative, mind-sets of cane growers were changing.