Dalo Impact on Youth – Serenia Vilele

SUPPLYING dalo suckers to his people was Isaia Vai’s aim when he moved from his old farming site to a piece of mataqali land. Now in the third year of cultivating his Mataqali Korobuka land, he said: “I realised that only it is for free and I could also create an impact to the younger generation of my mataqali and the village.”This is God’s gift to me and I know because he has brought me this far and directed me to be a farmer rather than pursue any other of my talents.”

Now with an expanded dalo nursery, the 46-year-old farmer started with the tausala variety dalo bought from the Ministry of Agriculture. When tausala production declined throughout the nation, he in turn supplied the ministry with suckers. “It is through this exchange, that God provisioned another blessing with the assistance provided by the ministry and that is the setup of the dalo nursery to help us dalo farmers.”

Isaia is using three acres of mataqali land for the nursery alongside other crops such as yaqona and plantain. A man who has experienced the advantages of planting dalo over the years, with his passion and plans, will expand. “I had planted a total of 6000 tausala suckers for the nursery and I am planning to continue until I reach a total of 20,000 before expanding.”

“Dalo is a crop that is suitable for us around here because of the climate and the soil type and another bonus is that harvest is twice in a year,” Isaia said. “Not only the climate and soil type or the twice harvest but also dalo helps in financing needs and wants in the church, families and communities.”Like any other farmer, Isaia has a five-year plan to keep what he has going. “It is my plan to keep the nursery intact and to assist the other five farmers this area with whom I share the passion of farming,” said Isaia.

“I will supply other farmers with tausala from the nursery and assist the Ministry of Agriculture with the supply and distribution to areas in demand both at 40 cents per dalo sucker.” Crop extension fieldman (Nakorotubu) Maciusela Tikoi said 30-40 per cent of dalo was produced from Ra Province.”Isaia is moving forward and sourced his own planting material from his dalo farm and has moved every step of the way from what is available. Through the Dalo Development Program, the ministry is looking at ways to further lift the nursery and dalo production in Ra Province.”

Fiji Times, Fiji, August 31, 2017