Ripley Queen is known as the world’s sweetest pineapple at 19.8per cent proven pleasantness and this tropical fruit is the reason the Singh family has become successful farmers of it, from humble beginnings starting off with just two acres of land almost a century ago.
Surrounded by the prickly pineapple field overlooking the ocean, breathes motivation to the father and son team living at Vulagi Settlement in Tailevu.
Father is 80-year-old Baldeo Singh and his 57-year-old son Mani Singh who are both widowers and work in unison cultivating their now 20-acres land.
“This is a freehold land and we have been doing pineapple farming since 1960 and we grew up breathing the sweet scented smell year in, year out,” said Baldeo.
“When our family started planting pineapple, at harvest time we would also sell to the local school that we attended,” he said.
“We would walk with our pineapple bundles to sell in school and to the neighbors and sometimes the sale becomes short because we get hungry and mischievous.”
Baldeo smiled fondly recalling his younger days, moments he cherished of growing up completely relying on pineapple farming as their primary source of income.
“We tried planting other commodities on the land but pineapple did well and so we remained with that.”
“Because securing a spot in the prominent secondary schools around us was hard, we dropped out at primary school level to work on the farm,” he said.
“Although we did that, the relationship with our i-Taukei community was not affected; we accepted our fate knowing the farm will provide for our future.”
And so it went that Baldeo eventually took over the reins from his father, got married and brought his family up on the farm continuing the tradition of his father.