People are motivated and challenged through incidents, experiences and acquaintances and for Petero Delasau, the words of one of his students motivated and challenged him to venture into farming.
“A student of mine who is now a yaqona middleman once told me about the possibility of becoming a millionaire by planting 10,000 yaqona plants and harvesting it in four years,” he shared.
“He told me that I was lucky as I had the land and I could practically do what I wanted to and that touched my heart and mind.”
Mr. Delasau is a retired school teacher, originally from Veivatuloa village in Namosi and is also serving as a catechist at the local parish.
Until his retirement in 2009, Mr. Delasau taught at various schools. Wherever he was transferred to, Mr. Delasau used the opportunity to do farming whether it was after work or school holidays.
After his retirement in 2009, Mr. Delasau decided to move from subsistence to semi-commercial farming.
“That year, I planted my first batch of ginger on a 1 ½ square chain and harvested green ginger with a total revenue of $3,200.00 in 2010 and what I received as a beginner was a lot.”
The result of the first batch of ginger that Mr. Delasau harvested motivated him to continue with ginger farming. During his visit to New Zealand in 2011, the ginger farm was left in the care of his children.
“Upon our return, I was disappointed as I could not see any ginger but only grass, then I decided to move to dalo,” he said.
He went with his wife to as far as Serea in Naitasiri for his 1,500 tausala suckers to start with and then ventured to other dalo varieties and disappointment rose again when bargain with a buyer did not meet his expectation.
With the many trials he encountered on his way; from negligence by family members and disappointments from dalo buyers to pests invading his crops, his heart never gave up.
He absorbed the farming experiences as lessons and continued, even planting cassava with orders now coming in from Lautoka.
“The trip we took to New Zealand got me wondering, as my brother-in-law took us to visit farms and as I marveled what farming could do, I wondered to myself why would people go to New Zealand to look for money when money is back home on the land,” he smiled.
“I always tell my children and the youths to work hard and venture into farming when they are still strong.”
“With the experience I went through, I am encouraging youths and young people that the money you are saving up in your FNPF will not last long and it is wise that you also look for alternatives like farming as your retirement plan,” said Mr. Delasau.
Agriculture Assistant (Veivatuloa) Ms. Maraia Tabaka said Mr. Delasau was assisted under the Ginger Development Program with land preparation of quarter acre of land, ginger seeds and agro inputs during the 2016-2017 financial year.
“He is the cluster leader for the tikina Veivatuloa and has progressed well. In 2015, under the Extension Services he was assisted with kumala and kawai cuttings for planting materials and has now started supplying planting materials to other farmers from his farm,” said Ms. Tabaka.