BY MYRNE LIVETT/ISLES MEDIA FREELANCER
Vincent Vania’s family, unlike other wantoks from South Guadalcanal, is a newcomer in the plains of Central Guadalcanal.
As the head of his family, Vania said, his usual job in the past was fishing, that’s how he had used to support his family back home in the weathercast.
“But I always hear stories from my wantoks returning home from this area, saying that planting crops and marketing in town is better, they said they earned a lot of money from it.
“I said, ok I’ll try that, so I followed my wantoks over here to make gardens for marketing in town, that’s my small story,” He said.
Vincent said, when his family arrived in June he came across other farmers selling home-processed tobacco for $1000 dollars per slip, due to shortage in the city. He said, during that period some of the farmers earned up to $40k and above.
Vania told Isles Media that he’s now focusing on growing Tobacco (commonly known to locals as Lekona or Savusavu) as he has observed that a lot of smokers in town and back home are using the stuff.
“That’s why I’m willing to plant Tobacco to earn money, for the livelihood of my family.
“We are newcomers here, and just arrived in June this year. We have a house at home that we need to complete, and that’s what we are here for, to raise money to complete our house.
“I didn’t count the plants, but it’s almost 600, and I also started a new garden on the other side,” he said. “First, I make a nursery and when the seeds grow, I pulled them off and do the planting.”
His wife and children assist him on their small farm, in which they also grow cabbage and root crops, and they already goes to the market in Town several times to sell the cabbages, and his small family built a thatched house for a short stay with bush materials found in the area.
He said he waits for three months before starting harvesting the Tobacco leaves, and now he starts with the process of producing the natural nicotine, manually.
The hard-working father has six children and also focusing on supporting their education, as he mentioned one of his children is doing form two back in the weather coast of Guadalcanal.
Vania said, the stuff when stored properly can last for up to 3 years after processing, with the quality maintained and intact.
He said, a good idea is to store it and watch out for the period when the supply is short in the market, that’s one way a tobacco farmer in the rural area will earn a good income.
When he was asked if he had plans to return to Malango and continue planting Tobacco after completing his house in south Guadalcanal, Vania said, “no I will be going back home, we only want to complete our house.”
Not only that, but he said his community back home in the Inakona area is also busy with the construction of a new church building, with the help of Christian brothers from Malaita Province.