Jale goes organic

Nasigasiga, Macuata farmer Jale Samuwai at the recent FRIEND FIJI workshop in Lautoka a fortnight ago. Picture: SITERI SAUVAKACOLO

TO actually put into practice something learnt from a young age can be quite a challenge because we are living in a world of change and changes come about nearly every day.

Some of these changes totally give people new ideas of doing things and they tend to forget what they were taught from a young age.

Jale Samuwai, a farmer of Nasigasiga, Dreketi in Macuata is a testimony to this because at 66 years old, he has already gone back to the traditional farming methods his father taught him.

Mr Samuwai has been a farmer all his life, however, he tend to lose the traditional farming method he inherited from his father as the use of inorganic manure and pesticides became a norm in the 1990s.

And farming was his life, it enabled him to send all his seven children to school, put food on the table and provide for his family, church and the vanua.

Most of his seven children are now working — two are teachers, a civil engineer, an electrician, who is pursuing five-year studies in China and his youngest daughter has just completed her studies in agriculture at the FNU, Koronivia campus.

A couple of years ago, he joined other villagers to a workshop organised by FRIEND Fiji where he was told that the traditional farming method was the best way to produce good yield.

The only person who came to mind was his late father who had taught him the most efficient farming method to use to harvest a good yield.
But he decided to go the other way and followed other farmers who used inorganic manures and pesticides on their farms.

Mr Samuwai’s farm boasts a variety from yaqona to root crops to the different leafy vegetables including pineapples.

“When FRIEND Fiji came in, I realised the importance of organic farming and how easy it was to put it into practise,” he said.

“The use of inorganic manure and pesticides was a common practice used by nearly all the farmers in the village for many years now.

“Now that FRIEND has informed us, I am so grateful and I started to use the traditional farming methods straight away.”

His traditional farming method included the use of leaves which are normally used as herbal medicines such as guava and pawpaw leaves together animal wastes.

The Macuata man also shared he could feel a huge change in his health after consuming organic food from his organic farm.

Before, he used to face difficulty in breathing and some other sicknesses and little did he know that these were the results of consuming food from farms which relied heavily on inorganic farming methods.

Mr Samuwai’s day at the farm begins at 8am before he breaks for lunch at 12 midday and returns to the farm at 2pm.

He usually calls it a day at 5pm. At times, he takes a break from farming and travels with his wife to Viti Levu to spend time with his 12 grandchildren.

Mr Samuwai advice for Fijians today is “work hard and till the land God has given you and you will prosper in life”.

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