Yogesh Prakash grew up in a farming settlement, planted cane and knew more about ratoon and cane variety than anything else.
This however did not deter the 42-year-old from becoming a vegetable farmer, a livelihood he took up after his land lease expired in the early 2000s.
This is apart from relocating from his home town of Labasa to Vakabalea in Navua to start his new life.
"It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make but I had to start somewhere and so I moved down here," Yogesh says.
Yogesh took out a lease on a five-acre parcel of land at Vakabalea in 2002 and since then has managed to make a living as a vegetable farmer — far removed from his cane farming knowledge.
In fact, Yogesh is one of the many vegetable farmers at Vakabalea from a cane farming background who have successfully made the transition to vegetable farming.
They, just like Yogesh learnt to start all over again but their farming background making the transition easy.
Yogesh plants tomato, ginger, watermelon, lettuce, capsicum and just about every cash crop that he thinks can grow with his green thumb.
Compared to when he had to wait for payment for his sugarcane crop, Yogesh now works harder because he now earns money just about every day.
"I sometimes earn as much as $30 a day selling from my roadside stall and sometimes my wife sells too but we at least get cash every day," Yogesh says.
His roadside stall consists of just a few planks of roughly hewn wood joined together to form a table and covered with a single piece of corrugated iron propped up by four posts. A single plank set on top of two old kerosene drums serve as his seat.
"Farming is good because I am my own boss now and if there is a problem, like if I have some problems with my vegetables only I would be responsible for it," Yogesh says.
With proper planning, Yogesh has learnt to use his knowledge of the vegetable season as well as growing them during the off season to ensure he always has a steady supply.
As we were talking, the whiff of chicken manure became unbearable as a farmer spread the stuff on his newly-tilled field nearby.
Being a city slicker, I just couldn't stand it. To a seasoned farmer like Yogesh this is the sight and well, smell of farming and to him the smell is money.
Surprisingly, Yogesh does not export or sell to middlemen but instead sells all his vegetables from his roadside stall.
"Most of my crops I just sell from my roadside stall and I don't export like some others but if there is more supply I will just sell it at the Navua town market," Yogesh says.
In the last 10 years he has spent at Vakabalea has made Yogesh made up his mind that he would like to spend the rest of his life on this side of the country, away from the burning sunshine of the Northern Division and where it is constantly blessed with rain.
"Money comes in every day so how I can I complain?"
And with the money he earns ,Yogesh has managed to send his two children to school and save some for any rainy weather.