Back to school: Vegetable farming pays off for four cousins

Panapasa Belena, 8, (close to the camera), Tomasi Tokea, 11, Anare Tokea, 13 and Ratu Jiona Ravodre ,14 sells there produce on the roadside at Naimasimasi Village in Tailevu. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Four cousins decided on a joint farming scheme to help relieve themselves of the stresses and burdens caused by COVID-19.

The plan was for them to farm enough to be able to help their parents with their back to school shopping this year.

The four planted vegetables and other root crops just after the lockdown was announced.

The crop is now ready for harvest.

This newspaper came across the four cousins selling their crops in the rain along the roadside at Naimasimasi Village, Tailevu.

The eldest of the cousins, Ratu Jona Ravodre, 14, said they moved to their grandparents’ place during the lockdown.

“Since we did not have anything to do during the lockdown, we got together and planted in my grandfather’s farm just to help them,” he said.

Mr Ravodre said the days earnings were shared among the cousins and used to buy the required school supplies.

“We have bought some of the school things such as bags, shoes, uniforms and now all that we earn we will use it to buy stationery and save some for our pocket money when school opens.”

Their uncle Panapasa Davetanivalu said the boys sold their harvests to support their parents.

“They usually come to spend their school holidays here and this time they decided to support their grandparents and parents as everyone is struggling and facing the impact of COVID-19 and the recent cyclone,” he said.

“Through this, they are learning the village lifestyle where farming is an integral activity and source of income.

“In future, if they are faced by situations such as COVID-19, they can use their farming skills to survive and support their family.”

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