1.?EFFORTS TO ASSIST RICE FARMERS -?Government is making concerted efforts to assist farmers increase their rice production in the Northern Division in a bid to reduce our import bill.
2.?FIRST SCHOOL MAINTENANCE HANDBOOK LAUNCHED -?The Ministry of Education permanent secretary, Dr Brij Lal recently launched the first ever School Maintenance Handbook to inform school managements on the importance of caring for school buildings and facilities.
3.?AWARENESS PROGRAM FOR LEADERSHIP MODEL BEGINS -?The Public Service Commission (PSC) this week facilitated two awareness sessions for permanent secretaries and senior level executive officers from various government ministries and departments on the Public Service Leadership Model.
1.?EFFORTS TO ASSIST RICE FARMERS
Government is making concerted efforts to assist farmers increase their rice production in the Northern Division in a bid to reduce our import bill.
This was evident during a rice field day held at Wailevu in Labasa last week, where the Agriculture Ministry demonstrated the use of Rice Reaper, a machine used to harvest and thrash rice.
Speaking to the farmers, the ministry?s principal agriculture officer (Northern), John Cox said Government was committed to assisting farmers in the North and the ministry will ensure that all assistance is implemented effectively.
The farmers who participated in the day-long event had a good look at the use of the machine harvesting the ?Star? variety of rice.
Mr Cox said the ministry was promoting the ?Star? variety rice to farmers because of its high yield and short term maturation period. The ?Star? variety of rice matures in 90 days as compared to other varieties which take longer.
Mr Cox said the ministry will introduce other machines to assist rice farmers in the division.
Agriculture assistant, Niraj Lal said rice farmers in the North were currently harvesting rice that was planted late last year.
?Since harvesting rice is a time consuming effort, we are developing trials and field days to help farmers gain more knowledge about these machines and the impact they have in terms of harvesting,? Mr Lal said.
Wailevu Village headman and rice farmer, Senirusi Baleira said he was grateful to the ministry?for introducing the rice reaper to farmers of Wailevu.
?We have now learnt that the machine will speed up the harvesting of rice and also reduce costs unlike the manual harvesting, which consumed lot of time and money in hiring labourers.?
The Northern Division is Fiji?s major rice growing area totaling about 1,900 hectares annually producing about 5,800 tonnes of paddy.
2.?FIRST SCHOOL MAINTENANCE HANDBOOK LAUNCHED
The Ministry of Education permanent secretary, Dr Brij Lal recently launched the first ever School Maintenance Handbook to inform school managements on the importance of caring for school buildings and facilities.
?This initiative of the Access to Quality Education Program (AQEP) in partnership with the Ministry of Education has come at the right time since schools were distributed Free Education Grant this year,? Dr Lal said.
?The manual will serve as an invaluable reference for school managements throughout the country with 20 per cent of the grant allocated for building and maintenance.?
South Tavueni Secondary School manager, Krishna Reddy said the school maintenance handbook imparts valuable information to caretakers on the importance of maintaining school facilities and buildings.
Dr Lal also acknowledged the technical working group for the formulation of this publication and the Australian Government for the funding.
?AQEP is really pleased that the Maintenance Manual has met the need of the Ministry of Education and schools at a time when the Free Education Grant is being rolled out this year,? AQEP Team Leader, Dr Priscilla Puamau said.
She said that AQEP was happy to partner with the Education Ministry on the School Maintenance Manual, which would be a useful resource for all schools in Fiji.
A copy of the manual will be provided to all schools here to enable easy accessibility to valuable information contained in this publication.
?The application of the knowledge gained from the School Maintenance Manual will create an atmosphere in our schools that is conducive to teaching and learning,? Dr Lal said.
3.?AWARENESS PROGRAM FOR LEADERSHIP MODEL BEGINS
The Public Service Commission (PSC) this week facilitated two awareness sessions for permanent secretaries and senior level executive officers from various government ministries and departments on the Public Service Leadership Model.
The Leadership Model, that was launched last week by the Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama, aims to develop leadership capabilities at the senior executive level of the public service.
PSC permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said the model will contribute to the overall objectives of Government through improvised service delivery and that the implementation of this model across the public service will instill standards of honesty, professionalism, integrity and commitment to service from senior leaders.
The awareness sessions, which hosted a total of 50 senior level leaders, aimed to highlight the way forward from the launch of the Model and the means through which government ministries and departments could tailor the model to fit their agencies? needs.
Mr Chand said the Public Service Leadership Model and programs such as the Service Excellence Awards, the Executive Leadership Development Programme?as well as the sending of senior officers to training programs like the CELAP funded by the Embassy of the People?s Republic of China, are part of Public Sector Reforms.
These Reforms focus on fostering a culture of excellence and professionalism within the civil service beginning with the decision making level of Government.