- FIJIAN PRESIDENT?ON TOUR OF SOUTH AMERICA -?Fijian President His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will this week travel to South America on an official visit to Brazil and the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
- ACTING MINISTER FOR DEFENCE RECEIVES UAE ARMED FORCES?-?The Acting Minister for Defence, Commander Viliame Naupoto today received a delegation from the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
- WORKSHOP TO IMPROVE MARITIME SAFETY COMPLIANCE?-?Maritime stakeholders met today to review and share ideas on various draft marine regulations in a bid to improve Fiji?s maritime safety standards.
- RICE FARMERS TRAINED IN REWA?-?In a bid to revive rice production in the Province of Rewa and other potential rice growing areas, the Ministry of Agriculture organised a rice field day at Burebasaga last week.
- VANUAKULA PRAISES GOVT FOR A SWIFT RESPONSE?-?Descendants of Solomon Islanders living in Vanuakula settlement in Drasa, Lautoka were visited by Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni last week.
- NEW CENTRE TO OPEN ITS DOORS FOR BUSINESS IN NAMOTOMOTO?-?A new facility has been built by the Bainimarama Government to boost income and create business opportunities for women in the Western Division.
- ?FIJIAN PRESIDENT?ON TOUR OF SOUTH AMERICA
Fijian President His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will this week travel to South America on an official visit to Brazil and the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
The visit follows the invitation of the Presidents of the two countries through high level engagement to further strengthen relations between the countries bilaterally and through international organisations such as the South ? South Cooperation and the Group of 77 plus China (G77).
HE Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is visiting Brazil as part of his plans to visit all of Fiji?s missions as a show of commitment and solidarity.
Following his visit to Brasilia, the Fijian Head of State will travel to Santa Cruz, Bolivia at the invitation of the Bolivian President to attend the 50th anniversary of the G77 plus China.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also be attending the 50th?anniversary of the G77.
- ?ACTING MINISTER FOR DEFENCE RECEIVES UAE ARMED FORCES
The Acting Minister for Defence, Commander Viliame Naupoto today received a delegation from the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
The eight member delegation, led by Major General Staff Pilot, ?Mohammad Rashid Obaid Al Ali is in the country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces?tomorrow.
Following the courtesy call to Minister Naupoto, the delegation met with RFMF Commander, Brigadier-General, Mosese Tikoitoga and other senior officers at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.
The delegation was also accorded a Quarter Guard Parade and a traditional welcoming ceremony by members of the RFMF.
3.?WORKSHOP TO IMPROVE MARITIME SAFETY COMPLIANCE
Maritime stakeholders met today to review and share ideas on various draft marine regulations in a bid to improve Fiji?s maritime safety standards.
Minister for Works, Transport & Public Utilities, Timoci Lesi Natuva while opening the two day national workshop on draft marine regulations at Suva?s Holiday Inn, told representatives of the maritime industry to recommend improvements to regulations which are in line with Fiji?s national, regional and international obligations.
Mr Natuva said ?the aim is to interact and share ideas on how to improve the standard of safety for Fiji registered ships sailing in our waters or on international voyages; and for Fiji qualified seafarers including the protection of our vulnerable and pristine marine environment.?
?The review will encourage high level of expectation of the industries voluntary compliance to the new legislation,? he said.
Maritime and Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) chief executive officer, Neale Slack said there are a total of 31-marine regulations but only critical regulations that cover all sub-sectors of the industry are targeted at the workshop.
?Survey of ships regulation where every vessel has to be surveyed will be covered today as it affects many vessels in Fiji,? Mr Slack said.
?Aids to Navigation and Carriage of Dangerous Good regulations are critical and will also be discussed today, which affect in a positive or negative way depending on how they are being administered and complied with,? Mr Slack said.
Mr Slack encouraged all vessel operators to abide by the law and comply with the various legislations.
The workshop will close?tomorrow?after consensus on the regulations which will enable it to go ahead for final vetting.
- ?RICE FARMERS TRAINED IN REWA
In a bid to revive rice production in the Province of Rewa and other potential rice growing areas, the Ministry of Agriculture organised a rice field day at Burebasaga last week.
Senior agriculture officer (National Rice), Jone Matawalu said the main aim of the field day was to demonstrate the use of small rice machines such as the rice reaper and thresher as well as teaching farmers proper agronomic practices in growing rice.
“The rice demonstration plot at Burebasaga was also meant to convince and influence farmers in the potential rice growing flatlands of Rewa, Tailevu south and lower Naitasiri,” Mr Matawalu said.
“To revive rice industry in Fiji, we should fully mechanize the industry and the Ministry will introduce machinery such as combined harvester and rice planters to assist rice farmers.”
“The Ministry under its ‘Rice Revitalisation Programme’ targets to revive the rice farms in major rice growing areas in the Northern, Central and Western Divisions to increase local rice production,” Mr Matawalu said.
In 2013, Fiji produced 6,873 tonnes of rice which was an increase of 2037 tonnes from the 4836 tonnes produced in 2012.
“This year the Ministry targets the rice production to be around 8,000 to 9,000 tonnes,” he added.
Government is making all efforts to assist farmers in a bid to reduce our import bill which is $40m at the moment.
- ?VANUAKULA PRAISES GOVT FOR A SWIFT RESPONSE
Descendants of Solomon Islanders living in Vanuakula settlement in Drasa, Lautoka were visited by Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni last week.
The original residential site for this community was at Navutu in Lautoka, however in 1995 the community relocated to Vanuakula under the flagship of Fiji Melanesian Development Association.
Dr Luveni is the first women?s minister to visit Vanuakula settlement and hold discussions on potential development projects to benefit the community.
The settlement with a population of 280 is also one of the latest communities to join the violence free campaign.
Vanuakula development committee chairman Tomasi Kailoma said the talanoa session with the Minister was very interactive and informative.
?This has been the first time for us to communicate openly with a senior government official. We have received detailed information about the poverty alleviation and welfare programs. We are also grateful for the opportunity provided to partner with the government in trying to address the issue of violence, an issue that is been of great concern to us.
?Whilst the government is doing its part, we felt that as a community we also need to take responsibility by fully supporting the violence free initiative. We are grateful to the Bainimarama government for reaching out to us, the government has also assisted us by building 11 new homes in Vanuakula, which were damaged during the Tropical Cyclone Evan in 2012,? Mr Kailoma said.
Expressing similar sentiments, Mrs Josephine Rokodi, president of Vanuakula Melanesian Zion Women?s Club said the minister?s visit had given them hope to build the new facility.
?For the last 19 years, Vanuakula women have worked hard to look after their families and today our hardwork has been recognized, we have received a positive response from Dr Luveni for the women?s Ministry to help us build a women?s resource centre that will greatly assist us to start new bakery project and enable us to contribute towards our family income.
?Currently most of these women are dependent on their husbands, but through the new centre, women will be able to generate income and make informed decisions for themselves. The violence free initiative is also a worthwhile investment for our families,? Mrs Rokodi explained.
Dr Luveni said that a gatekeepers committee formed within this community will work closely with the Ministry to facilitate various capacity building programs for women.
?Rural women face many challenges, poverty being one of that, which is also one of the key determinants of domestic violence. Economic empowerment of women through establishing various income generating programs will also assist communities in becoming violence free. Confident women, free of abuse are resourceful and progressive,? Dr Luveni said.
- ?NEW CENTRE TO OPEN ITS DOORS FOR BUSINESS IN NAMOTOMOTO
A new facility has been built by the Bainimarama Government to boost income and create business opportunities for women in the Western Division.
The newly built Namotomoto Women?s Resource Centre in Namotomoto village, Nadi will be opening its doors soon to provide services to the nearby schools and communities.
The construction of this centre started in March this year and the capital project amounting to $30,000 is administered by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
Namotomoto Women?s Club president Sereima Lutumailagi said the facility?s core product would be supplying of school uniforms.
?In 2013, the Namotomoto women?s club had written directly to Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni, requesting for this centre. We were amazed with a quick response from the minister?s office to assist us with this important facility, which aims to empower women particularly those who don?t have permanent employment,? Mrs Lutumailagi said.
?Sewing is the major activity for our club, however we were in need of a centre through which we can operate in a more organised and consolidated manner. We have 40 registered members in the club who will be sewing school uniforms that will be supplied to Nadi District School, Nadi Primary School and Ratu Navula School.?
?These uniforms will be sold at prices ranging from as low as $8 to $10. We will also ensure that all the members in our group have a savings account for themselves. Apart from the uniforms we also hope to sew items like table cover, cushion and pillow cases,? Mrs Lutumailagi added.
Mrs Lutumailagi said the new Centre is a great incentive for women to develop their skills to contribute towards their family income and also help eradicate poverty.
?There are 600 people in Namotomoto village and some of the families are poor. I know of some children who have only one pair of school uniform that they wear for the rest of the year. We hope to assist children from such families to get proper school uniforms and in this regard we will also be liaising with the ministry of education,? she highlighted.
She said the club is also willing to share sewing skills with other women from nearby communities.
?Our greatest appreciation goes to the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and also the Minister for Women Dr Luveni for fulfilling our request. The Namotomoto women have waited to have such a Centre for the last 40 years or so and the long wait is finally over. The centre once opened will assist many families in this community who are in search of opportunities to uplift their lives,? Mrs Lutumailagi added.