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Chand's success journey

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, January 28, 2018

HE is a proud third generation of the Chand family tilling the family land at Tova, Nakorotubu in Ra.

Mahen Chand proudly declares himself a kai Ra because this has been the only place that has given him and his family wealth for many decades.

Mahen paused just to crack a joke or two before we proceeded because he is someone who loves to pass comments, especially those about working on his farm and as he joked, it seemingly eased the burden off his shoulder.

The real account of his family life, though, is one that will draw interest as you listen stories about his family and how they had all worked hard to be where they are today.

Their journey at Tova started from through their great-grandfather, the late Sarju Bin, who was a descendant of Fiji's indentured labourers and had once worked for the then Colonial Sugar Refinery (CSR) now Fiji Sugar Corporation.

Mahen's grandfather was the only child, however, upon getting married, he had 14 children.

And so was the beginning of this happy family at Tova.

Many of them have married and moved on with their lives. However, this is not so for Mahen and one of his elder brothers who decided to keep together their family history so they continued the tradition at their family home.

He prefers rice farming but Mahen also has a large portion of his land dedicated to sugarcane farming at Tova.

The 50-year-old has 23 acres of land under sugar cane and says he has been struggling to maintain his once successful enterprise. But this has not deter him from doing what he does best because apart from sugar cane, he ploughs the land to plant vegetables, rice and other root crops for home use.

It is amazing though how he enjoys his surrounding because Mahen's family life does not only revolve around their farm but it is also associated with their love for their animals; breeds of sheep and cattle.

A day on the farm begins at 5am for this hardworking farmer and a few of his labourers and ends at nightfall.

And this has been Mahen's daily routine for so many years which has allowed him to send his three children to school with the two older ones now in tertiary institutions and the youngest a Year 11 student at Natabua High School.

These three children, despite, being away from home during the school period, have to return home during the holidays to help out on the farm. This has been their routine since growing up on their Tova home.

And working together, Mahen shared, was a key to their success.

"Working together is something we inherited from our forefathers and has been passed down from generation to generation," Mahen said.

"It is always important that we do everything as a family and this is why I always stress to my family and most especially my children to keep working together and although they may earn their jobs and move on in life, it is important to be together as a family."

While Mahen's life revolves around his farm, he stated the most important advice in his life that kept him going every day was that everything you use comes from the land. So you have to make sure that you're always making good use of the environment and the land around you.

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