ELDERLY Mata Prasad of Delaivuna, Taveuni is the 2013 Crest Farmer of the Year.
It was an award well deserved for the 62-year-old father of three who has 40 solid years of experience in copra, yaqona and dalo farming.
"We struggled a lot. We worked through the rain and the hot sun to get the copra ready or the yaqona and dalo," Mr Prasad said.
"I left school in Class Six and I did not think of any other thing to do. I just wanted to be a farmer."
Starting off as a copra cutter, he saved enough money and bought a piece of land in Waimaqara, Taveuni.
More hard work and determination enabled Mr Prasad to buy another 17 acres of freehold land in Delaivuna for his yaqona farm.
His success in the lush hills of Taveuni enabled him to build a house, three farm vehicles and earned the coveted 2013 Yaqona Farmer of the Year title.
Mr Prasad has more than 60,000 yaqona plants on the ground.
The modest farmer shares his good fortune with member of his community.
"I always like to help my community and if there's something that they need I always go out of my way to help."
According to the ministry, the award winner bought four acres of freehold land valued at $22,000 and gave it to the Taveuni South Secondary School which was established last year.