Money in farming

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Sera Ravai harvests cucumbers with the help of her granddaughter at their farm outside Soa Village in Ra. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

There is money in farming, to do well, one has to sweat it out and be willing to get the hands dirty.

Those are words that Sera Ravai, a farmer from Soa Village, live by. Sera was busy harvesting cucumbers with her granddaughter on a hilly forest clearing outside the village when The Fiji Times caught up with her.

“My husband and I toiled the land to raise all our six children,” she said.

“We never had a job. We used the land available to us.”

“That meant committing ourselves to years of back-breaking work but we never looked back. We did this to secure a stable future for our children.”

Sera assumed control of the family farm when her husband passed away almost two years ago.

She said while she missed her husband’s company and support, she was consoled by the fact that her children had found better lives their parents never had.

Three of her children have become civil servants, one works in Australia and her two youngest children are still in school.

“We plant cucumbers, watermelons, vegetables, yaqona and cassava and we sell our produce at the Korovou and Nausori markets,” she said.

“Yesterday, we sold 20 bags of cucumbers at $100 a sack, that’s $2000 a day.

“You can’t get that kind of money if you are working in an office, which to me means, there’s money in farming provided you put in the hard yards.”

Sera is currently assisted on the farm by her eldest son and his wife. “My son used to work at the department of corrections but he left his work to help prop up the farm business,” she said.

“Accessing the market is a challenge for us so we plan to lease a farm closer to Suva in future. That will allow us to be close to our customers and reduce our transportation cost.”

Sera believes any woman could be a farmer and any farmer could be successful.

“Two things I’ve learnt over the years is to be disciplined with time and finances and I know a lot of fellow i Taukei fail in those areas.”

“We all want our children to be successful in life but we can’t do that without hard work. So my advice to those who doubt themselves is this, work hard and believe in yourself and your future will look good.”

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