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Farmer plants for the poor

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, February 14, 2013

ALL rice farmers plant to earn a living but not Ajend Lal who, with the help of his family, is doing so to give it away.

The rice farmer of Tabia, outside Labasa Town is planting rice for the poor and the labourers who are expected to harvest his cane mid this year.

Mr Lal said a one acre rice paddy was set aside to feed labourers who would harvest three acres of sugarcane.

"The one-acre paddy that we have normally yields about three tonnes of rice which, when sold, may fetch us about $2400 as the cost per tonne of rice is usually $800," said Mr Lal.

Interest in the one acre farm has been growing with a few enquiries from interested buyers.

"People stop in the middle of the road and ask us if we are interested in selling our rice but this is not the case because we also give a tonne of rice to the poor.

"We have in fact started our preparation for the next cane crushing season and have been planting our own supply of rice to feed our gang which is cost effective," he said.

However, he has not ruled out the idea of selling rice as an alternative business venture.

"The problem is buyers usually demand a low price which is unfair given the hard work that is put in," said Mr Lal.

"We will see how the sales go this year before we make a decision."





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