Once surviving on a mere $100 some nine years ago, 28-year-old Atish Prasad has now become a successful entrepreneur in Taveuni, owning a thriving business that employs more than 60 locals.
Today, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka
officially opened a cutting-edge agro-marketing facility, owned by Mr Prasad in Nalele, which will be used to store dalo supply, ensuring freshness and quality while increasing income for local farmers.
Attended by hundreds of residents, relatives, friends, stakeholders and government officials, the opening of the Road King Farm Fresh Produce Processing Facility is a testament to Mr Prasad’s innovation, resilience and commitment to the prosperity of the Taveuni community.
PM Rabuka, in his official address, congratulated Mr Prasad’s dedication to enhancing dalo sales on the island and contributing to Fiji’s export earnings.
“I congratulate young Atish for his innovation and resilient discovery to be able to market our produce to the world,” he said.
“This facility holds a lot of promise in reshaping the agricultural landscape of Taveuni. There’s no reason why Fiji cannot feed its own self as projects like this, allows us to venture into feeding the world.”
The Head of Government added that the newly-opened facility stands as a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and ‘veilomani’ (love) demonstrated by Mr. Prasad.
Acknowledging international support, PM Rabuka highlighted the active pursuit of partnerships with global organisations, research institutions, and donor agencies to advance Fiji’s agricultural sector.
“I convey my sincerest gratitude to the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus), supported by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, for their assistance in establishing the processing facility.”
Prime Minister Rabuka, at the same time, highlighted that the project is aligned with the People’s Coalition Government’s commitment to fostering inclusivity and equity.
“To the farmers, workers, and residents of Taveuni, the Fiji Government is committed to supporting your endevors towards a more prosperous and sustainable future.”
Mr Prasad, in his address, acknowledged the tremendous support of his family, the Fiji Government, Australia and New Zealand Governments, stakeholders, farmers and well-wishers.
Despite many setbacks and challenges, he said that, “this was my dream for my home island and I chose this business to help the farmers here in Taveuni”.
“We export fresh and frozen produce overseas on a weekly basis and this arrangement has been sustainable for more than a year now.
“This facility demonstrates our unwavering commitment towards the agricultural sector and it embodies our collective determination to contribute to the prosperity of our nation.”
The new processing facility features cold storage rooms, a rest house and biogas system that produces 3,800 litres of biofertilizer a week for Taveuni farmers.