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Sheik Ifraaz Saheb is a 36-year-old farmer who lives in Naviyago, Lautoka with his parents, his wife, and six-year son.
Sheik comes from a sugarcane farming background but his interest was in vegetable farming. After several dialogues with his father he was given permission to convert a piece of land from their sugarcane field into a vegetable farm.
With the support of his wife, they commenced with the planting of coriander, long bean, and bongo chilies. During the pandemic, small-scale vegetable farmers like Sheik faced problems in maintaining their vegetable farm due to the increase in the price of seeds, fertilizer, and shade cloth.
Through Pacific Farmer Organisations Sheik was assisted with sylon cloth, breadfruit, and vegetable seedlings to help diversify his farm. In addition, Sheik and his wife both attended trainings on nursery management, food processing, and value chain that will increase their farming skills and knowledge.
Sheik hopes to convert more of his family’s sugarcane farm into a vegetable farm to increase production so he can financially support his young family and elderly parents. PIRAS aims to improve food and nutritional security by supporting production and strengthening market linkages to accelerate farmers’ recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.