Farming not for the faint-hearted

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FARMING has never been for the faint-hearted, but for Marama Dalikoro it is her bread and butter.

Originally from the village of Soa in Ra, the 46-year-old mostly farms produce from root crops, eggplants, bananas and even breadfruit (uto) at the back of her home in Vunikavika settlement road in Nausori.

Mrs Dalikoro used to sell at the Nausori market before she ventured into her own business two years ago.

With the assistance of South Pacific Business Development Microfinance (SPBD), she said the network of microfinance organisations helped her get to where she is today.

“Their assistance has helped me start and grow my small business for six years now,” Mrs Dalikoro said.

“Now that I have my own business, I’ve been able to put up a small stall in front of my house to sell along this road.

This has made my workload lighter because I’m able to do my home chores, farm work and also sell produce right in front of my home. If and when I don’t have much produce from my backyard farm then I would go early to the Nausori market to buy from middlemen. I can’t say the same for other people who run the same business as I do but for me, it’s good business because I’m able to help my husband who works at a supermarket warehouse to buy groceries.”

On a good day, Mrs Dalikoro said she could rake in $300 to $400.

“I always make sure that the heap of produce I put on the table is worth the customers money,” she said.

“Opening and closing hours is very flexible so I don’t have a specific time to open nor do I have a closing time. I’m hoping to expand my small stall as well. I guess being a market vendor has always been a family thing and I do enjoy it – my mum was market vendor herself. I like being my own boss because I’m not answerable to anyone. I do what I want and when I want. For me, the only hardship I face is when business is very slow.”

Compared with other crops, Mrs Dalikoro said breadfruit (uto) has its own health benefits such as maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

According to website drhealthbenefits.com, breadfruit is one of the fruits that is rich in fibre and excellent source of potassium.

“It is a common knowledge that food with high potassium is good for the heart since it will assist in regulating the blood pressure by removing excess sodium in the body,” reported the website.

“Almost all properties contained in breadfruit is good for pregnant women.”

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