Farmer: No regrets

Petero Naivalu and his daughter Litiana Naivalu in Namosi. Picture: ANA MADIGIBULI

LEAVING school back in 1986, Petero Naivalu, didn’t regret for a moment the decision he made to return to the village to farm for his family’s livelihood.

As he stood barefoot beside the rushing cool waters of the Wainikoroiluva River in Namosi, Petero shares that farmers such as him living in the highlands are content with what they are earning from farming.

Petero, who is from Saliyadrau Village in Wainikoroiluva, Namosi, said he didn’t regret leaving school because he enjoyed spending time in the village and helping his family toil the land.

“Most of the time we focus our attention on living in the urban areas, but there is a good life offered in the village too,” he said.

“We earn enough money from farming and we eat healthy every day without worrying about what we need tomorrow.”

He, like many farmers in the highlands of Namosi, relies on yaqona, cassava, dalo, duruka and ginger as the main source of livelihood.

“Farming is something that our forefathers have done for many years so everyone living in the village knows how it’s done,” he said.

“It’s something that we can earn instant money from without working twice as much, because it is about managing our time well.

“Out of all the produce that we plant here, the best would be yaqona because it’s something that we can earn a lot of money from especially in supporting our children’s education.

“For yaqona farming it depends on the harvesting period and it usually takes about four to five years to harvest it. The money earned from yaqona farming is usually used for my children’s education and most of the time the yaqona harvest is devoted to that alone.

“My target is to get more than $1000 from just a small yaqona harvest, because I have two children in secondary school and one child in primary school.”

He said unlike yaqona, dalo was harvested every month.

“It is a constant earning crop for us up here because the carriers that collect it come regularly to the district,” he said.

“If I harvest enough dalo to fill one or two sacks I can earn about $300 to $400 in a week depending on the price that the company offers us when the dalo is weighed.

“If we don’t sell it to the company, we also have the option of taking it to the market because prices there are good too.”

He said ginger was a newly introduced crop.

“Ginger is new and so we had to learn about its farming method and it’s been around for almost three years now here,” he said.

“I also sell cassava at the market but most of the time it’s used for family consumption.

“I sell cassava at $40 a sack and sometimes I sell it for $5 a heap to customers, which is the same as selling it for $40 a sack.

“Sometimes, it’s easy just selling it to those who come to buy it here instead of transporting it to the market because of the distance travelled.”

He says everything he earns is for his family and his children’s education.

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