Eddie Voko, 27, resides at Barana community and is of Guadalcanal and Choiseul province parentage. He is a good example of someone who commits to a vision and works hard to achieve it.

With 5 children, Mr. Voko is a determined and struggling father.

He dreamed of building a permanent home (house) for his children.
Year in, year out, the struggle is real since he has no paid job (formal employment).

With sheer determination and fantasy of a ‘dream home’, Mr. Voko continue to explore paths and possibilities that would turn his dream into a reality.

Mr. Voko tried out many opportunities and involved in timber milling (Saw-milling) – a job he gave-up to become a full time farmer.

“I left saw-milling for reasons only known to me and decided to concentrate on family farming/gardening,”Mr. Voko told MAL Media in an interview.

Mr. Voko said he earn good money from vegetables and root crops sales (marketing) than what he usually get from timber milling then.

“Farming is better than anything. It’s our livelihood. You earn whenever your crops and vegetables are ready for selling. Every day you become richer from your farm sales,” Mr. Voko attested.

Mr. Voko got involved in intercropping, however, his main focus is on shallot cultivations.

“I concentrated on shallot farming because it is the only vegetable that made my dream a reality – through shallot sales, I manage to save some money and build my family home.”

Mr. Voko frequently sold his shallots at the Honiara Central Market but then round mid-2020 a Chinese businessman approached him at his home for a deal – a tradeoff arrangement that seen Mr. Voko as the main supplier of shallots to the Chinese businessman in Honiara.

He said to him that was a dream come through as the arrangement empowered him to do little savings as well cut the market transport expenses.

“I usually transport my shallot produces to the main Honiara market for sale but then after this new arrangement, I have stopped as the buyer himself have to travel to my home and purchase his prearranged orders.

“This arrangement really helped me and my family because I spend no money on transport and market fees as before. I just wait for the buyer to call me by phone and provide details of how many orders he want us to prepare prior to his arrival for purchasing and collecting.

“I use plastics and a scale to weigh orders. I charged $15 per kilogram. I supply twice a week – Thursdays and Sundays. I usually make 100kg per day and 200kg for two days. So, for simple math, I earn $1500 per day and for that two days I can earn $3000,” Mr. Voko stated.

Despite the prosperous operation, Mr. Voko said the real challenge remain as invasive pest and diseases like the African Giant Snail (GAS) which continues to damage his gardens. “And the reason I chose to focus on shallot farming is, it is a repellent plant and insects and even GAS cannot attack it.”

Mr. Voko while acknowledging the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) toward developing the agriculture sector and supporting farmers throughout the country, calls on MAL to visit his community and support them with farming tools and also pest and disease remedies.

"I want to grow other crops but snail (GAS) is a real threat – it damages our garden vegetables and root crops,” Mr. Voko stressed.

He encourages people who have nothing to do or do not have formal job to engage in gardening/farming to support their families and livelihood.

Source: MAL Media