Caption: FRCA CEO, Jitoko Tikolevu with Semi Naqelevuki winner of the first ever Dynamic Youth Awards in Levuka last month.Photo: SUPPLIED MEDIA
‘Everyone wants to be their own boss.’
For Semi Naqelevuki, leaving school at sixth form two years ago and venturing out to farming was solely for this reason.
And slowly, that decision is coming into fruition. Mr Naqelevuki was this year a winner of the first ever Dynamic Youth Awards, a program to recognise the achievements of youths in the country.
The program was launched by the Eastern Division of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Levuka last month. There were four awards for the youths in the division- Young Farmer of the Year, Youth Club of the Year, Youth Entrepreneur of the Year and the Youth Worker of the Year.
The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority sponsored the Young Farmer of the Year Award and the Youth Club of the Year while the other two awards were sponsored by the Fiji National Provident Fund.
Eastern Division Senior Youth Officer, Taniela Tuinaceva said youths largely contributed to the informal sector of our economy, which often was not recognised. The awards was to encourage them and recognise their contributions to our economy.
Mr Naqelevuki, from Solodamu Village, Tavuki in the island of Kadavu has planted over 2500 yaqona plants, with an estimated value of about $50,000. He has over 800 dalo plants, 300 cassava plants and 200 pineapple plants.
In the next three years, he hopes to increase his farm to 6000 yaqona plants and 9000 dalo plants, with an expected income of about $95,000.
“I have set objectives for the next four years,” he said.
“I would like to build a concrete house, fully furnished. I would also like to buy a fibreglass boat.
‘These will cost about $69,000.” FRCA Chief Executive, Mr Jitoko Tikolevu said it was important to support all sectors of the economy and more importantly the youths of our country who were venturing into small businesses.