Dewan Goundar receives his award from the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Jitendra Singh. Photo: ANA SOVA.
By ANA SOVA
Dewan Goundar has proven that education really has no age limit.
Mr. Goundar, 59, was one of the 51 farmers that graduated with a Certificate 2 In Production Horticulture from Vivekananda Technical Centre in Malolo, Nadi yesterday.
Not only did Mr. Goundar graduate, he was also one of the top four participants that were awarded the Best Farmer Award.
The farmer who owns an eight acre farm in Yako said he found the training interesting and very helpful.
“I was very lucky to be selected to attend the training, it has really helped me have a better on farming techniques,” Mr. Goundar said.
The father of four who is originally from Yasiyasi, Tavua recently moved to Nadi after his farming business in Tavua wasn’t running well.
Meanwhile, Mun Lakshmi was one of the only two females that attended the training.
The 48 year old farmer from Korovuto said it was the first time for her to be graduating from training.
“I feel very proud and I have really learnt a lot,” Ms. Lakshmi said. Meanwhile, Principal of Vivekananda Technical Centre, Mohammed Saheed said the Certificate II in Production Horticulture was developed with growers and accredited by the FHEC and commenced with on-field training in May 2016.
“A total of 11 Farmer clusters of between four and seven farmers were formed around geographical production areas. On-farm training was given to each cluster in techniques for improved production,” Mr. Saheed said.
He said an assessment of knowledge gained was carried out.
“And the result was that we have now 51 farmers out of 60 farmers trained who have graduated,” Mr. Saheed said.
He said this has assisted the farmers to increase their monthly income and cash flow.
“The benefit for the consumer is that there is now an increased supply of high quality fresh vegetables on the market and in some small way contributing to Food Security in Fiji,” Mr. Saheed said.
He said the college will be providing a Certificate III course in Production Horticulture from the June onwards which will provide more technical skills to interested farmers.
“In the near future VTC is planning to develop courses in Fruit Production, Primary Processing of Horticultural Products, Spices and Beekeeping,” Mr. Saheed said.