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Only one in Lau

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

WHAT started off as an experiment is now fast becoming a hobby for sheep farmer Tomasi Tikotani. Mr Tikotani, 53, is the only sheep farmer in the Lau Group.

Originally from Vatoa Village located in the upper southern part of Lau, Mr Tikotani started his sheep farm after he was gifted an ewe and two lambs by a friend who was a sheep farmer living in Navua in 2007 After receiving the gifts, he has never looked back.

"Sheep farming has now become a hobby, I was told by the Ministry of agricultural officials who are on the island that I am the only sheep farmer in the whole of Lau," he said with the grin.

Mr Tikotani has the sheep breed known as Fiji Fantastic and the Black Belly.

"Right now I have eight sheep and I can only have 10 on the farm at any given time. It's because I can't control more than that because I don't have proper fencing," Mr Tikotani said.

Mr Tikotani said sheep farming had now become a source of money for him as he sometimes sold the meat to fellow villagers at $5/kg.

"The sheep knows their meal time, whenever it is their meal time they will come to the front of the gate of the fence. As soon as they have all eaten they will move to the shady place under the trees," he said.

"Here on the island, they eat ripe mangoes, coconuts, breadfruits and lemons. There can never be shortage of food for them."

Mr Tikotani said sheep farming was much more convenient to him compared with having a pig farm or even goat. He said it is much easier to look after sheep than any other farm animal.

"They are easy to look after; the only problem here is that dogs attack them all the time. And also whenever the ewe gives birth, the dogs attack the lamb, that's why it is also safer for me to only have 10 or less sheep on the farm at one time," he said.

Vatoa Village is accessible by 27 hours boat ride from Suva.

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