Sugarcane farmer spends $300,000 on machine

Ratu Savenaca Ritova, fourth from right with relatives after the traditional ceremony at Naseakula Village. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

LABASA chief and big time canefarmer Ratu Savenaca Ritova Qomate may be the first indigenous canefarmer to purchase his own harvester. Ratu Savenaca, who harvests 8000 tonnes of cane annually, is also believed to be one of the biggest cane producers in the country.

Yesterday, families at Naseakula Village celebrated his achievement in securing the harvester for the chiefly Qomate family.

“We are just so happy to have bought our own harvester because this means we will save $150,000 a year,” he said.

“For the past four years, since we started harvesting, we have had to use $150,000 a year to hire harvesters. “Now, we will save that money and use it on labourers and other costs.”

Ratu Savenaca spent about $300,000 to purchase the machine from India.

“The mechanics are also included in this package so when we purchase the harvester, the company sends a mechanic with it to fit the pieces together,” he said.

“They also remain with us for two years so during this period, they carry out necessary repairs and maintenance work on the harvesters.”

But he said that being a canefarmer or a businessman is never an easy duty as it involves a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

“Sometimes back, when things got tough, I wanted to throw the towel in but I thought of the vast land we have and how God has blessed us with it,” Ratu Savenaca said.

“So I stayed back and I have never regretted because the tough times have taught me a lot of good things. “I believe, all landowners can do the same and be successful because we have the resources that are valuable.”

Ratu Savenaca’s 250 acres farm is at Vunika, where his late aunt and the former Tui Labasa Adi Salanieta Tuilomaloma once lived.