October 20, 2017

Vitila at a snail’s pace but still beating the odds

Port Villa, Vanuatu – Vitilia Vuniwaqa will not allow her disability to deter her from becoming a successful farmer and business women. Involved in a car accident and later partially paralysed seven years ago, she has managed to build her small business through organic farming with the support of family and friends.

Originally from Luvu Village in the island of Gau with maternal links to Taveuni she has been involved in the farming business for the last two years. She owns a 12 acre organic farm land in Sabeto, Nadi in which she plants a variety of local fruits and vegetables. Her farm also includes 26 honey bee boxes and she has managed to produce her own natural moisturizing cream made from virgin coconut oil, honey and
bee wax. “I believe in organics, because we need organic and nutritious food for our health. It has not been easy for me after being immobile and unable to move around, it took me two years to learn to speak and walk again. I’ve had to find a reason to get up in the morning and the farm gave me my life back,” she added.

Vitila joined over 50 women and men farmer leaders, partners and stakeholders from ten Pacific Islands gathered who gathered for the inaugural Pacific Women in Agriculture Forum in Port Villa this week.

The workshop discussed initiatives by women farmers to reduce poverty and hunger in their families and communities. During her presentation at the workshop she shared her incredible journey and the struggles she has endured to build her farm, which resulted in a standing ovation from the  workshop participants.

My advice to women who would like to venture into the agriculture sector is to “Go for it”. The journey will be cruel and harsh but my motto is to keep moving forward. “Go for it, start small, it’s a challenge because you may be single, you may be a women or like me – physically challenged” , she added. Vitilas long term plan is to expand her farm and business including helping other farmers so they don’t make the same mistakes she made.

Vitila was invited by the Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON) and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisation to be part of the three day workshop.

Emele Duituturaga Chief Executive Officer for the Pacific Island Association of Nongovernmental Organization (PIANGO) commended Vitila for her commitment and patience that has enabled her to rise above her circumstances. Her story is truly inspirational and one that we can all draw learnings from that nothing is impossible if we keep moving forward despite the challenges we face” added Duituturaga.


For more information or queries regarding the event please contact Ms Emele Duituturaga email / M:9991864