People | 2023 Beef Farmer of the Year

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Mohammed Shah, centre, with his daughters Nabeelah Nikhat (left) and Fadilah Faiza. Picture: WATA SHAW

For more than 20 years, Mohammed Shah has lived a perfect life.

Perfect for him means being surrounded by nature, his family and his herd.

After years of hard work and patience, the 45-year-old cattle farmer from Waimaro in Tailevu finally got recognised when he was named ‘2023 Beef Farmer of the Year’ by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Mohammed has more than 80 cattle on his 120-acre farm.

A third-generation cattle farmer, he started straight after leaving school.

“Beef farming is in our blood,” he said.

“My grandfather and my father were beef farmers so I am continuing the tradition of my family and I love what I do.”

He talked about his passion for beef farming and the challenges he has encountered along the way.

“Twice a week I go around to the farm to collect them (cattle) from wherever they may be grazing, tame them and put them in the holding yard.

“One of the main challenges I face is wild dogs attacking my cattle. Every time a member of his herd gets attacked, especially if it is a calf, Mohammed feels the hurt. He thanks the ministry for assisting him with the problem.

“Whenever we call, they help us in any way they can,” he said.

“So managing a beef farm, there will be ups and downs — you have to learn to take the loss too.”

He believes being a cattle farmer was one of the ‘best jobs in the world’ because it allows him to enjoy time with animals and get some exercise.

“I feel proud of myself because I get to go to the farm, sit with the cattle and relax the mind – so to me it is the best job in the world.

“I feel overjoyed and appreciate this honour because I know there are many other cattle farmers out there in Fiji who also deserve this award.”

Mohammed thanked his parents for supporting his farming venture.

“I’ve got three daughters, and they are interested in farming. It makes me happy to see them following my interests.

“I am also very blessed that my mum and father and my family have always been supportive.”

Daughter, Fadilah Faiza said she felt proud watching her father receive the award after years of hard work.

“I’m very proud of my father, because I have always seen him struggling,” the 21-year-old said.

“He usually goes to his farm in the morning and spends the rest of the day there.

“We’ve seen him work in the heat, it’s quite a hard job for anyone to do, so we are very proud of him for his achievement.”

Mohammed says more people should venture into farming as it provides a good source of income for families if they put in the hard yard.

“The young boys, mucking around town, if they’ve got the land they should get into farming.

“Money won’t come easy, only if you have patience and work hard.

“There is money in farming. If you put in the hard work, you will reap rewards later in life.”

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