Sweat and soil seals Mohit’s success

Mohit Kumar harvests bean. Picture: NAVNESH REDDY

Some people treat farming as a hobby. Few include it as a form of exercise and others do it for their peace of mind. For Mohit Kumar, he tills the land because his life and family depend on it.

The Bilalevu, Nadroga farmer-turned-fresh produce exporter, says the land has given him the opportunity to succeed. Born and raised in the heart of Fiji’s Salad Bowl, he comes from humble beginnings. But being poor has never deterred him from attaining his goals.

Mr Kumar strongly believes in the adage: “If you are born poor, that is not your fault, but if you die a poor man, that is your fault”. “My parents were ordinary vegetable farmers and all my siblings assisted them with farm work.”

He says Bilalevu was blessed with fertile soil suitable for fruits, vegetables and root crops. “After completing Year 10, I stopped going to school and took up farming tools in my hand,” said the 49-year-old.

“I had a tough childhood. I understood at a very young age that the world revolved around money and one had to work hard to earn it.” He says his family is his biggest motivation in life and salutes his brother for his guidance.

“My elder brother is my role model and I seek advice from him when I need to. I am also blessed to have very good friends who have my back all the time.” Mr Kumar has been farming for close to 20 years. But last year he decided to go one step further.

He established an export business called ‘Kumar’s Export’. “I never imagined that I would one day be called an exporter, but such is life. You have to keep moving forward and make progress for a better future.”

He says the fresh produce export sector has its own challenges, which requires him to be on his toes all the time.

“We have to buy good quality fresh produce from registered farmers to make sure the veggies are disease-free and produce such as eggplants go through quarantine treatment before being exported to New Zealand.”

Mr Kumar says natural disasters such as cyclones and flooding, pests and diseases were his biggest enemies.

However, he says one has to persevere and not get discouraged by occasional drawbacks. “After being hit by natural calamities, farmers have to stand up and start all over again.

“Cash crops will give high returns in a very short span of time. So never give up.”

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