July 31, 2020
Photo:Minister for Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy (middle) with Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Mr. Ritesh Dass and Farmer Anand Kumar at his Duruka Farm.
Mr. Anand Kumar of Johnson Road in Lautoka, one of Fiji’s largest duruka farmers was acknowledged for his contribution and commitment to the sector.
Mr. Kumar was visited by Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy during his most recent tour of the Western Division, stopping by the 26-acre farm to commend him for the 25 years he had dedicated to cultivating the land.
Duruka is Mr. Kumar’s primary commodity and he harvests it all year round.
During the main season, he harvests approximately 100-200 bundles of duruka per day, selling it on the roadside for $5-$8 per bundle.
His most consistent market is by the roadside, and he also supplied his crop to exporter - Produce Merchant before the global pandemic. “The borders are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and supply to the exporter has stopped at the moment, so I continue to sell my duruka on the roadside,” said Anand.
Before the pandemic, he used to supply close to 300-400 bundles of duruka to the exporter during each harvest.
There are other commodities such as cassava, coconut, dalo, ginger, pineapple, yaqona, and 30 beehives on his farm.
Anand harvests honey every three months and sells about 200 bottles of honey per month on wholesale at $18 per 750ml bottle.
He is preparing to harvest 30 tonnes of cassava, with Minister Reddy having made arrangements with the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) to buy his cassava, providing him with a readily available market for his cassava.
Hon. Reddy also advised him to make composts for his crops using Bacterium Culture to assist hastening the decomposition of organic materials in the compost pile.
“It’s good to always have other crops planted to sustain the stability of my family because we do not know when natural disasters occur, anything can happen at any time so when something happens to a particular crop that could affect revenue, there is always a backup source,” said the pragmatic Mr. Kumar.
The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC) under the Improvement of Key Services to Agriculture (IKSA) project assisted Anand with a borehole for irrigation, as water supply was an issue that affected his farm during prolonged periods of dry spells experienced in the Western Division.
Mr. Kumar has achieved a great deal through farming, earning assets such as a digger, tractor, a 7-tonne truck, and a family car. He has also put his children through school with farming, as one daughter is now a nurse, and one who works as a school teacher with his two youngest still in secondary and primary school respectively.
The Ministry of Agriculture continues to assist Anand with technical advice, purchasing duruka planting materials from his farm for other farmers, and has also linked him to other duruka farmers in the Lautoka area.