Transporting livestock and produce is a crucial aspect of the agri-business industry. Efficient and reliable transportation systems are essential for getting agricultural products from farms to markets, processing facilities, and ultimately to consumers.

Reliable transportation networks provide farmers with access to larger markets, allowing them to sell their products over a broader geographic area. This can help increase sales and profits for agricultural businesses.

It is also very important that a smooth transportation system is crucial for maintaining the value of these commodities.

In the outskirts of Ba Town, in the Western Division, two brothers have made a name for themselves in the livestock industry. Not as farmers but as transporters of animals to designated areas.

44-year-old Mohammed Imran Khan and 40-year-old Mohammed Yasir Khan started the Mohammed Khan truck business at a very young age.

The legacy of hard work and dedication left behind by their late father was what motivated them to stand on their own two feet during their teenage years.

“We lost our father in 1992 so we had to look after our mother and our younger siblings.”

At the age of 16, Mohammed Imran Khan started a tyre repair shop in Tavua which operated for three years. He was later joined by his younger brother after he completed high school.

“As the older brother, I knew I had to take the responsibility of looking after my family so I left school after form five and decided to start the tyre business in 2002,” he said.

In 2005, they purchased their first cattle truck which was bought from the savings that they had accumulated from their tyre repair business.

“That was the birth of the Mohammed Khan trucks business which is now transporting cattle from farms to abattoirs,” they smiled.

The duo work hand in hand and have been helping cattle farmers along Ba, Tavua, Rakiraki, and Lautoka to transport stock to the Fiji Meats Industry Board (FMIB) abattoirs in Vuda and Davuilevu abattoirs.

Over the years they expanded and bought more trucks as the demand from livestock farmers along the sun-coast region increased.

“I noticed that a lot of livestock farmers around this region have a problem with transportation and I know that this will certainly be our way of assisting the livestock industry.”

The brothers ventured further into raising their cattle and selling them to the abattoir.

“We decided to raise our herd and started with approximately 23 cattle on the piece of land and once they reached two to three years, they are sold and new ones are grazed,” said Mohammed Imran Khan.

“But because we are on a residential lot, we had to cease our cattle rearing but continued with the cattle loading for farmers,” said Mohammed Imran.

“Apart from the usual Monday loadings, we also get calls from other farmers on Saturdays to load and transport to the Vuda abattoir and our service is also available to farmers who wish to take their stock on other days in the week,” he said.

Charges stand at $150 to the Vuda abattoir and $500 to Suva, with five workers also at hand to assist in the loading of animals.

The brothers are now operating three trucks used for loading cattle and another three separate trucks operating at the Ba carrier stand for hire to passengers.

In 2016, the company secured a contract with the Ministry of Agriculture for the loading of stray animals under ‘Operation Vesu Manumanu’.

“This includes transporting stray animals caught by the Agriculture Officers to pounds.”

“We are often sad to see animals get taken due to the negligence of owners. Livestock farmers should follow instructions to avoid disappointment,” he said.

The services of the company have also extended to loading of cane to the mill.

“This is our passion now and also our way of ensuring that farmer's needs are met especially with the transportation of their animals.

From humble beginnings, the brothers have soared greatly with perseverance and teamwork managing to build their home, bought six trucks, and catered for their families from the income earned in addition to employing members in the surrounding villages.

“When you lose someone you depend on at a very young age, the urgency to survive will automatically kick in. We did not reach a good level in our education and we are also challenging others who dropped out early that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The brothers hope to expand their business and purchase more trucks.

“As transporters, this is our way of being involved in the agricultural sector and we are so grateful to see more farmers growing their livestock and being involved in growing agriculture in Fiji. If you have land, please utilise it for sustenance, food security and income generation.”