Fiji’s community of Vakabuli Paipai is becoming known now for pineapple cultivation, with around 500,000 fruits being harvested each season. Advisory councilor for Vakabuli Paipai, Shamshad Ali, is one of those farmers who have added pineapple to his cultivation and presently harvests around 3000 pineapples each year.
His grandparents, who came from India under the indentured labour system, settled here. Mr Ali has 15 acres of farm land with 12 acres used for sugar cane farming and the remainder for pineapple.
“I plan to add another two acres for pineapple farming for the next season. The sugar cane farming is good as my son Mohammed Irshad and I can work the farm by ourselves. But the problem is when we have to buy things like gloves, knives, boots for the cane cutters, and the demands for high payment of cane per tonne. We sometimes have to buy these twice and then some of them do not work on Saturdays, even though they don’t work on Sundays which we respect.”
Ali told fijisun.com.fj that pineapple production was less expensive and there was almost no cost in harvesting as he handpicks the fruits.
“I am one pineapple farmer who does not use plant hormones which is being supplied to farmers to increase production. That is why people like the fruits they buy from me because it lasts longer in the markets after being harvested.”