AT 69 years of age, Ulaiasi Leitabu of Nubuyanitu Village in the district of Noikoro in Navosa Province, is not showing signs of slowing down.
Even after the wrath of Tropical Cyclone Evan, Mr Leitabu and his dedicated wife and helper, Lusiana, have picked up again and continued with their farming program.
"We did not lose much but one of the drains on our farm was clogged, so we had a bit of flooding and lost quite a few dalo plants. After the cyclone passed, we were back on the farm," said Mrs Leitabu.
Mrs Leitabu is a retired schoolteacher and is originally from Saqani, Cakaudrove in Vanua Levu. And for her, hard work is second nature.
"I am always supportive of my husband and he has been a full-time farmer while I was working and I am indebted to him for the upbringing of our three children and for all the hardships that we have endured together," she said.
The hardworking couple have 32 acres of native leased land which is shared by two locations.
"One farm is in Nabilavou and the other at Raramakawa in Sawene and we have labourers working on both farms which makes work much easier for the both of us," said Mr Leitabu.
He started off with watermelon farming on a large scale.
"It was quite difficult as I had to transport my watermelons to the market via bilibili (bamboo raft) to a farm road before it was carted to the market on a carrier," he said. "That was the norm for a few years and I have to admit, though it was difficult, the income was always rewarding."
From humble beginnings of simple farm tools, Mr Leitabu bought his own Massey Ferguson tractor in 2007 which cost him approximately $95,000.
"I thought to myself that I cannot be a subsistence farmer all my life and it was time that I took risks on my farm in order to be one of the players in the market," he said proudly.
"Gone are the days of cane knives, forks and spades and it is time for farmers to be using all sorts of machines on the farm because so much can be achieved in so little time."
Mr Leitabu's mind opened up to the endless opportunities that farming had to offer and through countless visits to agricultural experts based in Keiyasi, he decided to start his own dalo farm.
"My farm's topography is flat land which is suitable for a variety of crops and it has alluvial and silt soil," he said.
With his farm situated a few miles from the road, he constructed a one kilometer road worth $7000 through income from the farm to allow access for his tractor.
With the assistance of the Department of Agriculture, he was given 2000 dalo suckers. His farm is also a model farm in the area for pesticide and fertiliser trials.
According to Director for Extension Services for the Department of Agriculture, Uraia Waibuta, the farmer has shown a definite commitment to his farm which should be an eye-opener to surrounding farmers.
"Anything is possible if the heart is set on achieving and the dedication by the proud couple is a sign of many more good things to come for them," said Mr Waibuta.
As for Ulaiasi and Lusiana, there was not much time to celebrate during the festive season. "It's all about hard work and time management and that is all there is to it," they both smiled.
They plan to phase plant 100,000 dalo plants by July 2013 in order to consistently supply their market outlets.
"Our main market outlet is Ben Hill dalo exports in Navua and we would like to maintain a good relationship with them, so the onus is on us to play our part well," Mr Leitabu said.
Apart from dalo, they also plant peanuts and vegetables to assist in their income and provide them with food security.
Mrs Leitabu admits there have been a lot of hiccups along the way.
"The road to success is never easy and we have to be prepared for what life throws our way. Farming is a huge risk and that was a risk that both me and my husband were willing to take," she smiled.
* Kuini Waqasavou is from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests