Wainiyavu Villagers in Namosi are demonstrating how Yaqona farming has significantly elevated their standard of living.
Yaqona farming, a source of income, savings and dreams for the future has become the lifeblood of this village.
Villager Tito Bai believes that their dedication to farming comes from a shared goal of improving their lives.
He says with no internet access, villagers spend more time cultivating the land than surfing the web.
Villager Tito Bai
Bai highlights the villagers’ commitment to tilling the land and planting Yaqona, giving importance to the crop that symbolizes life in Wainiyavu.
“Yaqona is our source of living and we plant it in large scale. We know that we will be able to afford a better life and continue improving through farming.”
Wainiyavu Village, nearly a three-hour drive from Navua town is home to over 100 villagers spread across close to 100 households.
These are no ordinary farmers; they are commercial Yaqona farmers who endure long walks and hours to reach their farms.
Some families go the extra mile, building farm sheds near their fields, spending days or even a month planting Yaqona with their children during school holidays.
The fruits of Yaqona farming have not only sent children to schools but also to universities, bridging the gap between tradition and education.
Yet, challenges persist. The road to Wainiyavu remains unfavorable, inaccessible by bus. Despite this, some households have used their Yaqona earnings to purchase large carrier trucks.
Last year, villagers were urged to shift from bamboo houses to get electricity. Families, driven by Yaqona profits embraced the change symbolizing a powerful connection between the earthy roots of farming and the modern amenities electricity brings.
Village Elder Toma Salima
Village Elder Toma Salima says that while children are encouraged to excel in school but some opt for the tough but rewarding path of Yaqona farming.
He says the drive lies in earnings that often surpass those of traditional white-collar jobs.
“We always encourage our children to be hardworking because farming is a bit challenging compared to some jobs but the money we earn from it is very rewarding.”
Wainiyavu Villagers continues to showcase how Yaqona farming has improved their livelihoods and it is a story of hard work, success and a spirit that links tradition to progress.