For almost nine decades, 88-year-old Josateki Vave has grown his own root crops and toiled the land. He credits his long life to the fresh produce he gets from his farm despite having to walk around with the help of crutches.

Mr Vave met with the Minister of Forestry Hon. Osea Naiqamu this week at Qelekuro Village in Tailevu.

Despite using crutches, Mr Vave is a keen farmer and made it his point to be present at the 4Million Trees in 4Years Initiative Consultation headed by Minister Naiqamu.

“I lived in the village all my life and I am one of those old hands who has toiled the land. I love farming and growing things because I know what I have grown has sustained me and fed me all this time,” Mr Vave said.

Mr Vave has been a staunch supporter of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Forestry and all other government department and agencies that deal with farming and anything to do with our natural resources. He remembers clearly, a few years ago of how he witnessed the establishment of the Dawasamu Pine Scheme.

He welcomed the Ministry of Forestry officials who came to camp in his home a few years ago and planted about 400 mahogany seedlings on his land. Not long ago, my mahogany plantation burnt down,” Mr Vave said.

“The main reason I am sitting here in this consultation is to humbly request the Government to strengthen measures and monitoring of our forest so that it prevents incidents such as forest fires”.

Mr Vave was overwhelmed with meeting Minister Naiqamu and he only wished he could go back to his hey-days so Minister Naiqamu could witness what an avid farmer he was back then.

Experiencing and witnessing almost nine decades of national progress, Mr Vave hopes people realize the importance of toiling the land and planting more trees for our own benefit and that of our future generation. “We are now witnessing the impacts of climate change here in Fiji. We are forever using hand fans in our homes and I urge us to plant more trees to curb the impacts of climate change”