Goundar a fast learner

Jitendra Goundar (right) with Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau (fi fth from right), fi sheries offi cials and aquaculture farmers at Wainibokasi on Wednesday. Picture: RAMA Picture: RAMA

From operating a digger to becoming a self-funded aquaculture farmer, Jitendra Goundar tries to further his business by first establishing a good foothold in the aquaculture sector.

Mr Goundar, who hails from Kavanagasau, Sigatoka, had a simple life growing up and worked the sugarcane fields with his family.

Sugarcane farming was a norm for Mr Goundar until their land lease expired causing his family to move to Korovou in Tailevu.

Merely adjusting to new life on his uncle’s dairy farm, Mr Goundar as a young boy completed his education and made the decision to help his family with dairy and root crop farming.

“Living in Korovou was short lived because during the 2006 coup our home was destroyed by a fire leaving my family and I with only the clothes on our backs,” he said.

“We made the decision to move away from Korovou and find residency somewhere close to Suva.

“We were lucky enough to reside in Baulevu and we later bought a piece of land that we quickly developed for vegetable farming.” He said he wasn’t into aquaculture at first, but after doing some excavation pond works for the Ministry of Fisheries he quickly learned about tilapia farming.

“I learned about how a fish pond is managed and how it’s a good source of income for aquaculture farmers today.

“What I earn from my excavation works goes to funding my tilapia farm and even though I have one pond I know that I can develop it like other experienced aquaculture farmers have over the years.

“Observing how things were done was important to me and I learned certain steps and processes from fisheries staff who come to visit the farm.”

He said his fish stock was often affected whenever there was a tropical cyclone. He doesn’t allow natural disasters to dampen his spirit to growing his business.

“We have been impacted by this pandemic with not a lot of jobs being offered for excavation works so we rely entirely on the farm to financially support us during this tough time.

“What I earn now is just enough to get us by unlike those farmers who are well-established with over 10 years experience.

“I have three children so what I earn from the farm supports their education and our family expenses.

“I’m learning new things everyday with tilapia farming and I hope this business grows further in the future.”

He said his focus was tilapia fish because it’s easy to manage and had a quick turnaround time.

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