Tuesday, December 4, 2007


At the age of 22, Eleni Domolailai has her own business, from which she earns enough to contribute to the family's income.

Ms Domolailai is from Laselase Village, which sits on the Suva end of Sigatoka Town's Melrose Bridge. She started her pawpaw business after officers from the Agriculture Ministry visited her village to teach villagers about making a living from their own farming businesses.

"I thought about it and decided to give it a try," she said. "From what I have seen so far not many young people get into a business like this.

"The agricultural officials came around to the various villages asking them if they were interested in learning farming and business skills. "So it was back to school for those of us who had joined."
Ms Domolailai had Form Four level education and had done commercial studies at tertiary level. The new opportunity was one way to help put her life on track and venture into a business of her own.

"I learnt how to get my own source of income from farming and also which produce business I wanted to venture into." Upon completing her training in farming skills, Ms Domolailai returned to her village and started her pawpaw farm.

She owns a 10-acre plantation just outside the village. She is usually helped on the farm by her niece and a friend, apart from being assisted by her father from time to time. Ms Domolailai said when she was learning about farming and how to start a business from it, she was impressed with pawpaw farming and the fact that the returns were good and quick.

"The benefits from having such a plantation are very good for me and family as I get to help my father support the family.

"For the pawpaw plantation, whether in good or bad weather it still goes ahead unlike some other fruits and vegetables.

"And in the past four years since starting my business I have been able to buy a tractor to help in the farm." Ms Domolailai said since starting her business four years ago, she was also able to export her produce through middlemen.

She supplies the local market twice a week and the export market on alternate days. In terms of exporting her goods. She said " for the local market I supply paw paw's on Monday and Friday's and this also depends on how many boxes I can fill which is usually around 20 to 25 boxes," she said.

"For the export market it's usually done on Tuesday and Thursday's and the boxes are sold around $15 to $20 a box.
Adapted from Fijitimes.com December 4th, 2007