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Savirio makes good
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24 June 2011


Savirio Lomanivere 52, and his wife Karolina Disere, 43 are a formidable pair. This dynamo couple are as hardworking as they
are fun to be around. Savirio is from Nakorotiki and Karolina is from Nasorowaqa, a rice farming community in Bua.

Living on their farm at Nakorotiki, Waninunu, Bua since 2004,
they not only plant dalo and an assortment of vegetables and raise livestock, they also own a canteen and pool table. While their nearest competitor is only 100 metres down the road and another at Daria Village, what sets the Lomanivere’s canteen apart is the atmosphere, which pulls people in.

Nakorotiki is about 42 kilometres from Nabouwalu, the main
business centre for Bua province. To get here, you could take a 90 minute drive in a four wheel towards Nakorovou or a two hour bus ride, either way just be prepared to rough it on the gravel road. Including the villagers at nearby Daria, the total population in the area is about 500 people, serviced by a health centre and post office.

“Before I moved my farm here, I was farming at Waitikitiki, which
is really far off the main road. You have to walk for miles to get to the farm,” Savirio said.

Waitikitiki itself isn’t far from Nakorotiki, but the distance between
the main road and the farm is. How far? Well, in the country, you have to understand that when you’re walking to a destination and have no idea how much further or how much longer, asking your guide will yield an answer along the lines of, “just five more minutes,” or “just over that hill,” and before you know it, an hour has lapsed and you’ve actually walked over three hills! So when Savirio says that it was far from the main road, stretch your imagination and think a walking distance of 10 or more kilometers. Now, imagine trying to lug down hundreds of kilogrammes of dalo along that distance to get it to the market.

“I farmed there between 1991 and 2004 but it got too much. It took
me about two hours on horseback to get to the farm because there was no road,” Savirio said.

The best part about Nakorotiki is that his homestead is right next
to the main road across from Ratu Luke Junior Secondary School. His worries about getting his produce to the market are now long gone. Since moving here, Savirio and Karolina have done very well for themselves building up from the ground, literally, everything
they now own.

In 2009, Savirio became a Micro Credit client of the FDB,
borrowing to finance purchase of a water pump, chainsaw, fertilizer and insecticides. The Micro Credit Scheme provided loans of between $500 and $5,000 to people earning less than $7,500
per annum. The MCS was one of two microfinance products under FDB’s wider Social Banking Facility, which included the Agrifinance Scheme for farming loans of between $5,000 and $10,000. The SBF was suspended in December 2009 following the exhaustion of the allocation.

The water pump saved the family much needed time in that they
no longer had to walk 200 metres each way to cart water for the home and for the farm.

“I remember the day I met Pillay (FDB business manager), he was
passing through here on his way to Namalata and I stopped him on the road to ask him how I could finance the water pump,” Savirio recalls on how he became a client of FDB. That loan enquiry was quickly processed and life as the Lomanivere’s knew it was never the same.

“Right now I have about 5,000 dalo in the ground, another 3,000
ready for harvest – the tausala is for export and the maleka dina for the local market,” Savirio said.

Prices while not favourable at 80 and 50 cents per kilo
respectively, is just enough to help Savirio cover costs such as
labour and farm inputs. Because the dalo is purchased at his farm gate, Savirio saves on transportation costs.

It’s difficult for Savirio to say how many acres he has under farm,
because its mataqali land and he uses pretty much as much as he can farm on any given day. Besides the root crops and yaqona he has going, Saviro has pigs, melon and corns. He employs about 10 people during planting and harvesting.

“Within the next few months, we hope to start a bakery using gas
from methane produced at the piggery,” Karolina said.

“We have a canteen here at the front of our home, and the business
from here does well because of the kids, teachers and the villagers nearby. The billiard table is a great source of entertainment for people nearby because they use it as an opportunity to gather, have a few bowls of grog, talanoa and enjoy some friendly competition.”

The modest earnings from the pool table help pay for their son
Iliesa’s, 17, education at Labasa College. Income from the canteen on the other hand help to also take care of family needs including the education needs of their other two children, Liku, 16 and Merewalesi, 12 who go to Ratu Luke. The parents have firm thoughts on further education for all their children.

As Savirio’s fortunes have grown, so has the requests to help with
school, village or church obligations, something which he gives of freely. The school and the village rugby team though are at the top of his “To Give” list. Savirio’s long term plan is to start his own dalo buying business, but first he has to look into acquiring a 3 ton truck at least to help with the transportation.


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