Wealth in the land

“You will find wealth in the land and if you want to pursue farming, then try it with all your heart.”

These were the words of 89-year-old Jonacani Koro, a proud sheep farmer of Nasukamai, Nalawa in Ra.

Koro left the disciplined life of a soldier very proud to have served his country battling in the Malayan Campaign.

Serving his country as a youth in uniform was something he enjoyed and cherished. Koro was content with the income he earned from enlisting in the army and doing the things which got the juices flowing.

As the years wore on and he was past the days of his youth, Koro knew it was time to settle down and decide on a course of action which would see him through life.

He worked with the New Zealand Air Force at Laucala Bay and decided to try various places including the post office and Millers Ltd in 1974.

His perseverance for the education of his seven children and the livelihood of his family drove him to leave for Australia in 1975 to work and lease a 400 acres at Nubumakita in 1980 from the Mataqali Valeda in Sawanivou Village for his sheep farm.

Koro started saving his income and invested on the piece of land as he knew it is from this that his family would thrive.

“I approached the Ministry of Agriculture and told them of my interest in livestock farming and I started my sheep farm with eight ewes and a ram from Dobuilevu,” he said.

The sheep multiplied until low productivity at the turn of the century drove the man from Nasukamai to Nawaicoba Quarantine Research Station for a breed of Barbados Black Belly and Fiji Fantastic which multiplied and grazed wildly on the 200 acres reserved for livestock on the farm.

He now has 15 cattle; six bulls and nine cows.

Jonacani was the only one on the sheep farm until age caught up with him and he had to enlist the help of his son-in-law Waisea Serau and a grandson.

“On two separate occasions, we sold a batch of sheep at Naduruloulou at $10 per kg and for each sale got approximately $4000 and we accommodate buyers at the ranch as well at $10 per kg,” said son-in-law Waisea.

Not only has the sheep farm paid for the tuition of the children and the welfare of the family, it has also afforded them a Toyota Hilux carrier that transports people and cargo.

In 2011, Koro was awarded the Farmer of the Year Award during the Agriculture Show.

* Serenia Vilele is an

employee of the Ministry

of Agriculture.

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