Family-run business thrives
25 September, 2018, 10:00 am
ASHOK Chand started working in his family shop straight after school and has not looked back or regretted his decision to join the family business throughout the years.
The 61-year-old still owns and operates their family business from his home in Tokotoko Back Rd in Navua.
Mr Chand said the business had been good and profitable over the years and in 1990 he added their kava dealing business to the store.
“I started my kava pounding and selling business here after I saw the great demand from my customers and today I will say that business is great,” he said.
Mr Chand buys yaqona from farmers in Beqa, Namosi and Serua, pounds it at his home and sells it to regular customers from the area.
“I recently bought this sealing machine and it has made work easier for us here,” he said.
He says he usually buys yaqona from his suppliers at $70 to $90 a kg, pounds and packs it at home before selling them.
“After Tropical Cyclone Winston most of the crops in the path of the cyclone were affected/damaged but my suppliers were not affected.
“My supply remained constant however now most of the farmers are going into cash crop farming because it seems that they want easy money and yaqona farming takes time,” he said.
Mr Chand said with more and more farmers choosing to go into cash crop farming there was a lack of supply and that’s when farmers and middlemen increased the price of kava.
He said in the year 2000 he made more profits from his kava business but things had changed now and his costs were greater than profit. “The quality of kava that we buy has also changed — it’s not of that high quality anymore.
“Most farmers prefer selling green yaqona for easy money however it is not that good and sometimes the quality is not good.”
Mr Chand now employs five people who assist him in the yaqona pounding and packing business.
“My family members assist with the shop and one of us is always here, minding the store,” he said.
Mr Chand has three children who have their own jobs but they are always there for him to help out in the shop and kava business.