People: Subash toils the land

Vegetable farmer Subhash Chand at his Lokia Valley Rd farm in Sigatoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Subash Chand is not waiting around for a chef vacancy and has turned to the land for cash and sustenance after he lost his job at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The chef was employed at a resort along the Coral Coast for five years before he lost his job.

For the 28-year-old it was a matter of adapting to his new circumstances and did not have to look far to realise the opportunities that farming had to offer him.

Today, he toils the land at his home in Lokia, Kavanagasau, in Sigatoka’s Valley Rd.

Subash said being the older of two boys he had a responsibility to look after his aging parents and brother who has enrolled at university.

“I was a chef for five years until COVID hit and I lost my job,” Subash said.

“I had to return home to my parents and this was when I realised that there was no need to look for another employment opportunity as the land was lying right in front of me.

“This was when I started my journey as a farmer and ever since I started I have never regretted any moment of it.”

Subash was raised by his parents at Lokia settlement and spent most of his childhood on his father’s farm. He said life on the farm was something he was accustomed to, but sort employment as a chef because of his passion for cooking.

For him COVID-19 was a blessing in disguise because it took him back to the farming and allowed him continue earning.

He planted a variety of vegetables on a six-acre farm and within six months he earned more than enough to meet the needs of his family, pay his brothers tuition fees and also meet his own personal needs.

Subash is also able to top up his saving account and replenish his farming stock with the money he earns.

Last week Subash’s farm was one of the many battered by floodwaters when the Sigatoka River broke its banks.

The setback has not dampened the spirit of the young farmer who intends to rebuild straight after the floodwaters recede “I guess that’s how a farmer’s life goes.

Disasters will not discourage me from farming and continuing the tradition my father has set.

“My family’s life mainly revolves around farming and it is something that is in our blood.”

He is proud to call himself a farmer because he is falls into the category of hardworking Fijians who supply fresh vegetables to the homes of many Fijians.

“At this moment I have no plan to return to tourism, but focus on my farm.

“I guess this is the best reliable option for me because if something comes up again, the hotels might close again and I will have to start all over again.

“Farming is where my heart is and I love every moment of it.”

The Kavanagasau farmer has also urged people to plant and make use of the land during these uncertain times.

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