Making amends

Antonio Bulivou when he was 42 years old. Picture" File

Coming back to the flow of life outside of prison and finding success is what most prisoners dream about.

Cane farmer Antonio Bulivou was 42 when he came to Seaqaqa, and two years later he won the prize for the most innovative farmer at the Northern Agricultural show.

According to an article published by The Fiji Times on July 8, 1983, Mr Bulivou hailed from Qamea Island in Cakaudrove.

To be in the limelight in such a short time was no mean achievement for a man who had never grown cane before and who spent a long time behind bars.

Bulivou said he was 17 years old and had just completed secondary school when he was imprisoned for three months for criminal trespass.

This set him on a trail of revolt against society and his criminal activities lasted 22 years, from 1957 to 1979.

But maturity came with age after he was released from his last stint in prison in 1979. He decided to make amends and never looked back again.

He acquired a 17 hectare farm in Seaqaqa and using his own family labour, his first harvest lasted the year before he yielded 205 tonnes of cane from only four hectares.

He harvested more than five hectares that year, and was estimated to yield 320 tonnes before the drought, but it fell to 295 tonnes of cane.

Antonio planned to plant another one hectare in a new area as soon as there was rain.

He grew his own vegetables and fruits, which was the main area of activity for his wife and children.

Antonio was a man of all seasons and believed in hard work from dawn to dusk.

A staunch Seventh-day Adventist, Saturday was his only day of rest.

He was a natural innovator and very ably combined his own ideas with those he got from his advisors. He was a model to those who were at Seaqaqa long before his final release from prison.

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