Nisha thankful for Cash for Cultivation initiative

Robbed of the family’s sustenance by two cyclones that happened within five years, has done little to deter Ba farmer Shamshun Nisha who has since rebuilt from scratch and is already saving up for her Undergrad son’s Masters studies.

When her house and sugar cane farms in Ba were destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016, Nisha decided to venture into vegetable farming. She relied on relief assistance from the Fiji Government’s seed distribution program which helped start her vegetable farm. She managed to rebuild her home from the savings she earned.

However, five years later, she lost all when her farm was completely destroyed by the widespread flooding in the western division caused by Tropical Cyclone Ana.

“It was quite disappointing knowing that all your hard work went down the drain but such is life and it has to move on from there,” Nisha said.

In order to recover from the aftermath of the cyclone, the mother of three applied for assistance under the Ministry of Agriculture’s Cash for Cultivation Initiative. The program is supported by the Australian Government and implemented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Fiji. She was among 1000 farmers assisted in the first phase of the initiative across Fiji. Under this initiative, farmers are provided cash to assist with land clearance, land preparation and the purchase of planting materials to re-establish a 1-acre plot.

“The assistance allowed me to prepare my land. Before the cyclone I was supplying chilies  to New World Supermarket but all those were destroyed with my bhindi and other vegetables,” she said.

Today, she has managed to replant the land with a variety of vegetables such as egg plants, peanuts, corns, water melon, beans and cowpea.

“My farm has really helped my family a lot. I do the house chores as soon as my husband leaves for work before I go into farming. I have managed to pay for a helper as well but I do most of the work, “ Nisha said.

“The farm provides for our daily food supplies and the sale helps to sustain the daily sustenance of the family while we save my husband’s salary to continue with the final touches to our home.”

She is thankful for the assistance from the Australian Government that has supported her family in recovering from the flooding. She aims to save more from her farm to pay for her youngest son’s university fees.

“He is currently working towards his degree but I am saving to pay up for his Masters when the time comes.”

Photo: ADRA Fiji

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