FIJI: Switching to pineapple farming proves to be a sweet venture

by Josaia Ralago, Fiji Times


Pineapple farming has proven to be a viable venture for Macuata farmer Mohammed Janif.


Mr Janif shared his thoughts on the matter just before a prayer session at the nearby mosque in Qelewaqa, Labasa. Mr Janif, who has his farm in Tadravula, Seaqaqa, said he now resided in Bocalevu, Labasa because of his diabetes which he was diagnosed with 16 years ago.


He said his nephew, who he shared the farm with, was the caretaker of the farm residing there with his family.


“I can’t work for long hours on the farm now since I require rest after every two to three hours as a result of the diabetes that I am diagnosed with,” Mr Janif said.


Mr Janif, who has been a sugarcane farmer for more than 30 years, said he had noticed how worthwhile pineapple farming was since he started.


When he started, he had to buy the suckers from some other farmers for 20 cents each. He began with a few hundred back in 2011 and has 4000 pineapple plants on his farm.


“Pineapple is more efficient and it’s easy as it does not require a lot of labourers, one could do the job,” Mr Janif said.


When he first started his pineapple farm, Mr Janif said he was advised to buy his own suckers.


He said he was glad he took the initiative to start the farm because it was paying off and had plans to expand it.


Mr Janif said it was hard to find labourers which was why pineapple farming was more efficient for him.


“You know it’s hard for cane farmers to find labourers for their farms. I have to get my labours from Viti Levu for the past few years and that costs a lot of money but with pineapple I get to save a lot,” Mr Janif said.


“Farmers need to be wise in the utilisation of the resources they have on their farm.


“There are parts of the farms where we cannot cultivate cane in so we could use those to plant other cash crops. It is always about smart farming for maximum productivity of the land.”


He plants cucumbers, corn, cane, pineapples, cassava, beans and other vegetables on his farm.


Mr Janif said he used to plant rice but the lack of labour had forced him to stop. He now uses that piece of land to graze 12 cattle and cows.


“I used to produce five tonnes of rice from that piece of land but because of the lack of labour, I was forced to stop. But since I started raising livestock there, I have been able to get more then what I used to get from rice,” he said.


Source: Fiji Times

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