Nothing is going to stop 64-year-old Mariana Vikatoria from providing for her family.


Born and bred in Naiviivi village in Qamea, Mariana moved to Labasa for her education. After leaving school, she decided to venture into farming on a full-time basis.


“I wasn’t really an overachiever in school so I knew that to make it in the big world, I had to do something and keep myself occupied. That is why I went into farming,” she smiled.


After starting her own family, Mariana knew that she had to work extra hard to feed her family.


“I married and settled down in Vakativa Village in Wailevu East, Cakaudrove, and have been living here for the past 40 years.”


Her family was given Mataqali land to utilise and she has been practicing intercropping to ensure that the land is fully utilised.


“I plant yaqona and root crops such as dalo and cassava. Of course, we have some fruit trees like avocado, breadfruit and plantain or vudi on my farm.”


The hard-working woman sells her produce along the Labasa-Savusavu Highway and says that she is grateful to have her farm situated close to the road which makes it easier for her to sell her produce.


“There are no transportation costs or extra costs whatsoever and in a day, if sales go well, I can earn $90 to $150,” said Mariana.


Through money earned, Mariana was able to extend the family house and also started a small canteen to help the family meet their daily expenses.


“We also managed to buy a brush cutter to help us in cleaning up around the compound and this was all possible through income earned from farming,” she beamed.


She says that life has not been all rosy but knows that her belief in hard work has certainly seen them through some really tough days.


“Now with my old age and being a woman, I feel targeted most times because of the increasing theft on my farm. I am not the only one being targeted as other farmers in the vicinity face the same plight. It is sad to see that youths in the area are getting into mischief because of their inability to utilise the land and their time wisely,” added Mariana.


Mariana hopes to also pick up their copra business because of the increase in the price of copra.


The mother of 12 says that nothing is impossible if you have the right motive and set your goals.


“If you have land, try farming because it will certainly keep you well-nourished and you will not have to worry about where your next meal will come from. You will have a healthy body and mind and of course, the surplus of your harvest can always be sold for a few basic items in the household,” smiled Mariana.