NATI: The Building Blocks for Merewalesi Rokobuli

Picture: Merewalesi Rokobuli

Never in young Merewalesi Rokobuli’s wildest dreams did she ever imagine herself becoming a farmer, but today, she’s a farmer through and through.

Her moment of realization came while she was on a bus travelling along the dusty Navuso road, which led her to the Navuso Agricultural Technical Institute (NATI). There at NATI on that particular day, she discerned her calling and decided to take up the challenge of agriculture and farming as a career for the future. 

The 19-year-old young lass from Namuka-i-Lau with maternal links to Nokonoko in Ra shared that she had a deep yearning conviction to see what the institute had to offer, and thus began her journey at NATI, which became the building blocks for any and all of her future agricultural prospects.

“I never really knew a lot about Navuso (NATI), other than the fact that it was an agriculture vocational school for young men.”

“That day, the teacher who spoke to me about the school and the courses offered by the school really motivated me, and I was inspired to earn a place here at the school so I filled in the form, expressing my interest and I returned home to await the result of my application,” Merewalesi said.

That was two years ago, and after spending this same amount of time being a pupil of NATI which has shaped and fashioned her into a knowledgeable young woman in agriculture, she is now equipped with the knowledge to excel at all aspects of farming, be it either crop, livestock and even aquaculture.

As a science student in high school, Merewalesi said she had to have a new outlook on her new chosen field when she began her education at NATI, she had to begin from the basics.

“Apart from what I had learned in Biology and in the subjects taught in science, everything else was totally new to me and I was enthusiastic about learning all the details about farming because I had developed a passion for it and I was eager to learn,” she said. 

Not once has she regretted the decision to pursue farming as a career as she knows the treasure trove that lies in the land as a resource, something her time at NATI has further cemented.

“For me personally, my village and our land are both far off and having to graduate from a school that offers not only a Certificate but also a lease title to farm as part of the graduation package is a bonus for me and is one that I will never take for granted, I have never regretted having to choose farming as a career.

During her classes, Merewalesi was taken through all the agriculture courses offered at the school, but a majority of her time was spent at the poultry section.

She said she learnt poultry farming the hard way but with a determined spirit, she persevered to ensure she passed the course with flying colours.

“The lessons include the disadvantages of brooding different breeds of birds together, the essentials of the availability of clean, clear drinking water at all times, the effect of poor quality feed, and the importance of not overheating baby chicks and having good quality day-old chicks to successfully manage and own your own poultry farm,” she said.

“Through this good practice, the incidences of diseases and mortality rate will be minimal, those are some for poultry apart from the types of manure and spacing on crops that I have learnt over the years here.”

After graduating from NATI with her graduation package and with the lessons she learnt coupled with the hands-on training she received from there, particularly in poultry farming, Merewalesi has set a goal for herself, choosing to take up poultry and layer bird farming on her newly leased farm at Naqeledamu in Tailevu.

Once a young lady who hadn’t the faintest idea what her future had in store for her, Merewalesi is now a proud NATI graduate and farmer who has the world at her feet with the boundless opportunities that are there for her taking.

If you’re still on the fringes of laying out your path in life, Merewalesi challenges you to try your hand at farming, you just might surprise yourself, just like she was after she found herself at NATI where the building blocks for her agriculture journey was laid out.  

Merewalesi was amongst the 2021 graduates of the Navuso Agriculture Technical Institute (NATI) and graduated with a Level IV Certificate in Agriculture and a land lease title to boot.