Farming sugar cane on some of Fiji’s western dry, rugged and hilly terrain has its own challenges; from planting along the elevated gradients, whilst all the while trying to maintain symmetrical rows of planted cane.
Then the challenging task of harvesting along these hilly-slopes, it takes a bit more heart, even for a seasoned sugar cane farmer.
But for Vinay Kumar of Naloto sector, in the interior of Ba, such hilly-terrain sugar cane planting, is something he has done all his life.
From a young age, Vinay Kumar, along with his brothers started assisting their father in their family sugar cane farm.
Twenty years of successful sugar cane farming under his belt, Kumar, like his dad before him, is a generational farmer.
Kumar‟s 21 acre sugar cane farm, sprawls across the hilly Naloto terrain. He mostly plants the strong „mana‟ cane variety.
“This year I harvested 220 tonnes, last year it was 190”, he says.
To supplement his income from sugar cane, Kumar‟s farm also rears twenty sheep,
thirty goats and seven cattle.
His two brothers also own sugar cane farms, adjacent to his.
The management of the farms remain largely a family affair.
His wife of thirteen years, Sanjesh Lata, along with his three children, Nitin aged
12 years, Nitisha aged 11 years and Ashmita aged 8 years, all help out in the farm during the planting season.
The children attend the neighboring Balevuto District School, like their dad when he was their age.
The children are all fluent in the local Naloto dialect and can read and write in iTaukei, something Kumar attests with pride.