MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 5:00PM 13/06/13

CAPTION: Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama meets with Singapore’s non resident High Commissioner His Excellency Verghese Mathews and his delegation.

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1.?NEW MOBILE BUS TO ASSIST FIGHT AGAINST NCDs -?The Ministry of Health?in its efforts to curb high incidences of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country is taking a mobile approach towards awareness programmes in communities.

2.?SINGAPOREAN ?ENVOY CALLS ON PM BAINIMARAMA -?The Republic of Singapore?s non resident high commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Verghese Mathews said small island states need to become relevant and form allies in order to succeed.

3.?NEW HUNGARY AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIAL -?The new non-resident ambassador of the People?s Republic of Hungary to Fiji, Her Excellency Siko Anna today presented her credentials to the President of Fiji, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House.

4.?STUDENTS SHOW INTEREST IN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR -?The Fijian Government?s commitment to develop the agriculture sector has drawn interest from students enrolling into universities to undertake agricultural programmes. Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu said indications from the ministry of Education?s student enrolment in this course clearly shows the demand for agricultural training.

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1.?NEW MOBILE BUS TO ASSIST FIGHT AGAINST NCDs

The Ministry of Health?in its efforts to curb high incidences of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country is taking a mobile approach towards awareness programmes in communities.

Today a new bus sponsored by the Fiji School of Medicine, Colgate Palmolive company, Rotary Club Suva and P.A Lal Coachworks was handed over to the ministry.

Speaking at the official handing over ceremony of a new mobile bus, Minister Doctor Neil Sharma said the concept of the having a ?non communicable disease bus was developed after noting the need for more awareness on NCD?s at grassroots level.

?With this NCD bus we will continue to stress to people at the grassroots level about the important role they could play in ensuring they are not prone to NCDs,? Dr Sharma said.

?We have high incidence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, as a consequence we have a high incidence of cancer.

Dr Sharma highlighted that in Fiji, close to 20 per cent of the population are patients of hypertension.

?16 per cent of the population are diabetic and do not care for themselves. Only 50 per cent know of their condition and 10 per cent are in adequate control and this is dangerous,? Dr Sharma said.

?Despite, the provision of medication and awareness efforts, national statistics show that we are not progressing.?

Dr Sharma said individuals continue to deny that they are suffering from diabetes and resort to traditional measures without results.

?The Ministry would continue to play its part in encouraging people to take part in physical activities and maintain healthy living habits,? Dr Sharma added.

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2.?SINGAPOREAN ?ENVOY CALLS ON PM BAINIMARAMA

The Republic of Singapore?s non resident high commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Verghese Mathews said small island states need to become relevant and form allies in order to succeed.

Mr Mathews, today paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama.

Mr Mathews, said Singapore is an island country which after independence realized the importance of having friends and has therefore ventured into the Pacific region.

?The reality is with small island countries, it is difficult for them to influence the big countries, almost not possible to influence these countries. For small countries to survive and succeed, they have to become relevant,? Mr Mathews said.

?If all small countries are together, they can look at something and they can then to a large extent influence, what an individual country cannot.?

Mr Mathews said he was pleased that smaller nations are often thinking and working together because they have common aspirations and difficulties.

The diplomat, who is accredited to serve Pacific island countries will also visit Tuvalu as part of his Pacific visit.

Mr Mathews said Singapore appreciated the cooperation from Fiji and the rest of the Pacific Island countries at international forums such as the United Nations.

?Most of the time we stand for the same thing, we stand for peace and good lives for our people, we stand against terrorism,? Mr Mathews added.

On investment, he said investors usually prefer to work in partnership if they are to come far for business opportunities.

?Post independence Singapore knocked on a lot of doors to get people to invest but one of the pre-requisites for investor confidence is things like good roads and schools amongst many others.?

Singapore is a Southeast Asian island city-state off the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula, 137 kilometres north of the equator.

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3.?NEW HUNGARY AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIAL

The new non-resident ambassador of the People?s Republic of Hungary to Fiji, Her Excellency Siko Anna today presented her credentials to the President of Fiji, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House.

Ms Anna is a qualified linguist and has studied at Bagdad University?s Faculty of Humanities under the Department of English and French Language and Literature.

She further obtained her masters diploma in English and French Literature and Linguistics (double honors) in Budapest?s Eotvos Lorand University.

Ms Anna is also a qualified English language teacher and has obtained her Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults at the prestigious Royal Society of Arts, Cambridge University.

She is not a career diplomat and has only been posted as ambassador Australia and New Zealand in 2011. Previously Ms Anna was the managing director and shareholder of the international House Language School and Teacher Training Institute.

The diplomat has also worked in international organisations and has also worked outside her native country extensively.

Ms Siko is married to a British citizen, Robert Summerfield and has two children.
The Fijian Government signed diplomatic relations with the People?s Republic of Hungary on 12th August, 1976.

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4.?STUDENTS SHOW INTEREST IN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

The Fijian Government?s commitment to develop the agriculture sector has drawn interest from students enrolling into universities to undertake agricultural programmes.

Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu said indications from the ministry of Education?s student enrolment in this course clearly shows the demand for agricultural training.

?The Ministry has received reports from the Ministry of Education indicating that in the last three years, there has been a significant increase in numbers of students who are enrolling and taking agricultural science as their subject,? Mr Seruiratu said.

?Two to five students in every 30 students enrolled last year have opted for this course. In addition to that, school garden competitions created by the agriculture show has encouraged schools to establish their own gardens as teaching aid for students.?

The minister said through these initiatives, students will be encouraged to supply healthy and home grown foods for income generation.

46 students at the Fiji National University have been granted the first ever commercial agriculture scholarship earlier this year.

Government has put in place policies focused to ensure Fiji ?becomes self-sufficient in the agricultural sector.

In its 2013 Budget, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced a major initiative to encourage our young people to become farmers.

Through this initiative, government has set up a scholarship program in conjunction with Fiji National University in which 50 Form Six or Seven graduates each year will attend a 12 month certificate course that trains them in various agricultural disciplines.

When they graduate, each student will receive a loan package to the value of $70,000, to cover the costs of 100 acres of farm land, a tractor and basic farm implements, fertilizer and other materials, a house and shed, ?and start-up cash of $2,000.

Each student will be supervised by an agricultural extension officer, and given specific performance targets.
The Government hopes to attract many more young people to become farmers, give them sustainable livelihoods, boost the nation?s food security, and reduce Fiji?s dependence on imported food.

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