A $17k nursery belonging to 27-year-old Visneel Vikash Chand of Maro, Sigatoka was commissioned by Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Dr. Mahendra Reddy yesterday.
While addressing farmers of Maro, Sigatoka and neighbouring areas, Minister Reddy said the onus to expand towards fully commercialising the greenhouse nursery remained with Mr. Chand.
“We are here to commission a project by a young farmer. This nursery is the beginning of the establishment of a corporate farmer, a commercial farmer and we want Visneel’s investment in this nursery to become an example for all farmers in this area.
“We believe that Visneel, through his nursery, will support other farmers with cheap, low-cost, low priced seedlings and we want other farmers to learn from Visneel to establish their own nurseries,” said Hon. Reddy.
Minister Reddy also elaborated that the Ministry had implemented several development programmes aimed at enhancing farmers’ capabilities, be it in livestock or crop production.
He also said that the demand for fresh produce continually grew and that farmers needed to consistently meet the demands from the market, especially with the soon to be re-opened tourism industry.
Minister Reddy also challenged farmers of Maro to grow rice to help reduce the current import bill.
Meanwhile, Super Seed Plant House Nursery owner, Mr. Visneel Vikash Chand thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for the shalon cloth and pine post assistance for his nursery as well as the technical advice provided by the Ministry’s officers.
“I am a Bachelor of Agriculture student from Koronivia, and I thought to take up agriculture on a full-time basis because white-collar jobs can only earn so much, but through agriculture, I can earn so much more than what I would’ve earned taking up white-collar employment,” said Mr. Chand.
“I chose to set up this nursery because I found that a lot of the farmers in this area travel all the way to Nadi, even up to Ba to get seedlings and so I decided to start my nursery business to help these farmers to save on their travelling costs and I have discovered the potential in this business venture,” he added.