1.?FRENCH AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS -?The newly appointed resident Ambassador of the French Republic to Fiji, His Excellency Michel Djokovic this week presented his credentials to His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House.
2.?PROPER AGRICULTURE AND RURAL STATISTICS NEEDED FOR BETTER PLANNING –The role of the agriculture sector on a global level and more specifically here in Fiji has increased from just food and income security to a more vital and high-impact source of poverty reduction and the protection of the environment.
3.?FARMERS TRAINED ON PLANTING MUSHROOM -?The Ministry of Agriculture in a bid to continue with the awareness of the mushroom commodity all over Fiji conducted its second training on Juncao (Mushroom) Technology at the Legalega Research Station in Nadi last week.
4.?NATAKALA RUGBY CLUBS RECEIVES NEW UNIFORM -?The Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Laisenia Tuitubou?on Thursday?night handed over a set of rugby uniform to the Natakala Rugby Club of Verata village outside Nausori town.
5.?WORKING GROUP TO ACTIVATE FIJI-INDONESIA BILATERAL COOPERATION -?A Joint Technical Working Group will soon be established by Fiji?s Embassy in Jakarta and Fiji?s Ministry of Women to fast track bilateral cooperation in areas of women, children and poverty alleviation.
6.?SCHOOL ADOPTS UNIFIED APPROACH FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE ??A 22-year-old school located in Nakasi, Suva called, ?Nakasi Happy School? has adopted a unified approach to ensure academic excellence. This was revealed at the school?s Annual Awards Day that was officially opened today by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Sofia Akbar.
7.?SIBERIA FARMERS RECEIVE TIMELY ASSISTANCE -?Farmers in Siberia in Labasa recently received a timely assistance of seedlings such as capsicum,?dhania?or coriander, watermelon, cucumber, eggplant and okra.
8.?FARMERS OF NASAQA, MACUATA TRAINED ON SUSTAINABLE LAND PRACTICES –Nasaqa villagers of Wailevu, Macuata recently participated at a two-day training on Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices, resource management and farm management.
1.?FRENCH AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS
The newly appointed resident Ambassador of the French Republic to Fiji, His Excellency Michel Djokovic this week presented his credentials to His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House.
H.E Ambassador Djokovic previously served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Port Villa, Vanuatu in 2011.
He began his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1981 before moving to Hungary in Budapest as Second Secretary in 1984.
Ambassador Djokovic served as Head of Consular at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris in 1987 and served in countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Norway, Russia, and Korea in various capacities as First Secretary, Deputy Director and Second Counselor.
Ambassador Djokovic who speaks English, Russian and Serbo-Croatian, has a degree from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations.
2.?PROPER AGRICULTURE AND RURAL STATISTICS NEEDED FOR BETTER PLANNING
The role of the agriculture sector on a global level and more specifically here in Fiji has increased from just food and income security to a more vital and high-impact source of poverty reduction and the protection of the environment.
In order to ascertain the level of assistance and enable better planning for the agriculture sector it is imperative that Fiji is able to collect proper agriculture and rural statistics.
As such the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conducted a Global Strategy to Improve Agriculture & Rural Statistics stakeholders meeting yesterday at the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) Hall in Suva. This meeting is the second held this year as the first stakeholders meeting was held in May this year.
The Ministry of Agriculture chief economist Ilimeleki Kaiyanuyanu said the Global Strategy initiative aims to improve and enhance the more comprehensive compilation and dissemination of timely, reliable and quality Agriculture and Rural Statistics.
?Fiji is privileged to be one of the two South Pacific Countries currently selected for this FAO Global Initiative,? he said.
He added that improved Agriculture Statistics System certainly contributes to a better portrayal of the sector in terms of development, decision-making, policy and planning and precisely indicates its alignment to the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty and hunger.
The Ministry?s Agriculture?s Principal Economic Planning Officer Policy,? Jone? Sovalawa? said? the meeting? will not only benefit the Ministry and its stakeholders but the nation as a whole, on how we can effectively plan and develop our Agriculture Sector to ensure Food Security and improve the poverty and living standards of the people of Fiji.
?Without the quality and timely statistics we will not be able to plan well. Information sharing is mentioned a lot at the meeting held yesterday and it is in this type of forum that contacts can be exchanged amongst Ministry staff and the stakeholders. So it?s not only hearing voices over phones but actually seeing faces,? said Mr Sovalawa.
Representative from the Aqua-culture, Coastal and Offshore Fishing, Saimone Tauvoli said he was impressed with what that had been discussed regarding statistics and looks forward to working with the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO.
The main objective of the meeting yesterday was to analyse the findings and outputs of the first meeting that took place earlier this year with feedback for an improved Agriculture Statistical Framework.
3.?FARMERS TRAINED ON PLANTING MUSHROOM
The Ministry of Agriculture in a bid to continue with the awareness of the mushroom commodity all over Fiji conducted its second training on Juncao (Mushroom) Technology at the Legalega Research Station in Nadi last week.
About 40 farmers and Ministry staff attended the training which emphasized on ways to cultivate and produce quality mushrooms.
Currently there are five varieties trialled at the research station and they include brown oyster mushroom, grey oyster mushroom, white oyster mushroom,?Jew’s ear/ Log’s ear and Lingzhi.
The chairman of the Council of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University and director of China National Engineering Research Centre of Juncao Technology, Professor Ye Huilin said the main aim of the training was to increase farmer?s income and improve their livelihood.
?The Fijian Government in partnership with the Government of the People?s Republic of China agreed to introduce Juncao Technology, under the guidance of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and Chinese Embassy in Fiji,?? Professor Huilin said.
She added that the project will be the bridge connecting the Government of Fiji and the People?s Republic of China by promoting friendly bilateral relationship as well as becoming the model for Agriculture cooperation between the two countries.
Agriculture permanent secretary, Ropate Ligairi thanked the People?s Republic of China for their partnership and the new commodity being introduced to the people of Fiji.
?Mushroom is foreign to the local diet, and now that you have taught how to cultivate, cook and eat mushroom, the farmers and the Agriculture staff will now promote this commodity to the rest of the people of Fiji,? Mr Ligairi said.
A 70 year old vegetable farmer, Hari Prasad of Nawaicoba, Nadi found the training very useful because it has changed his thinking about mushrooms.
Mr Prasad said he learnt how to cultivate mushroom, how to produce the substrate, how to harvest and cook the mushroom.
?I am looking forward to starting mushroom farming in my backyard. I am vegetarian and mushroom can be a supplement in my diet,? Mr Prasad said.
4.?NATAKALA RUGBY CLUBS RECEIVES NEW UNIFORM
The Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Laisenia Tuitubou?on Thursday?night handed over a set of rugby uniform to the Natakala Rugby Club of Verata village outside Nausori town.
The Natakala youth group thanked the Minister for Government?s support towards their rugby club.
Natakala rugby club spokesperson Jekope Rokosuka said; ?We are really caught by surprise and we weren?t expecting the minister to hand deliver the jerseys so soon.?
?We were aware of the request for uniforms and weren?t expecting anything sooner this year as the year is coming to an end,? said Rokosuka.
?This is the best Christmas gift for the boys and will definitely boost their spirit come the next season of competition in Nausori,? added Rokosuka.
Minister Tuitubou went to Verata village late?on Thursday?evening do deliver the jerseys without and was to avoid the villagers engaging in any traditional obligation.
While speaking to the small group of men in Verata?on Thursday?evening, Hon. Tuitubou said; ?This gift is to ensure that Natakala continues its reputation as a powerhouse in the Tailevu rugby competitions.?
?This is also in recognition of your contribution towards the development of the sports in Tailevu and Government will remain committed to assisting youth clubs and the overall development of sports in Fiji especially at rural level,? he added.
The Hon. Minister will also be chief guest at the Nataleira Youth Sevens Tournament in Tailevu?on Saturday.
5.?WORKING GROUP TO ACTIVATE FIJI-INDONESIA BILATERAL COOPERATION
A Joint Technical Working Group will soon be established by Fiji?s Embassy in Jakarta and Fiji?s Ministry of Women to fast track bilateral cooperation in areas of women, children and poverty alleviation.
This was confirmed during a courtesy visit made to the Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Sofia Akbar from Fiji?s Ambassador to Indonesia, Ratu Seremaia Tui Cavuilati.? The meeting held between Mr Cavuilati and Minister Akbar will soon see the formation of a Joint Technical Working Group to implement the programs outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Fiji and Indonesia in December last year.
?The next stage is identifying the processes in terms of the implementation of that bilateral agreement. A Joint Technical Working Group will be convened so that senior Ministry officials can team up with the counterparts of Indonesia to deliver the commitment made through the agreement.? This would be critical step for Fiji to access the technical assistance from Indonesia and Jakarta mission will render full support in this endeavor.
?Fiji doesn?t have to reinvent the will in terms of the modality and machines, for example we have already started the seaweed project in Mau and now we just need to look at the sustainability of that project,? Mr Cavuilati explained.
He revealed the new economic programs that will be introduced in Fiji as per the Fiji-Indonesia bilateral agreement.
?Projects like locally produced fish crackers will be activated, for that we have an expert from Indonesia who will be coming over to Fiji next month on December 5th?to provide skills training. Indonesian government has also donated machines for that project and we are looking forward to introduce similar livelihood projects in Fiji,? Mr Cavuilati said.
Minister Akbar said that strengthened collaboration with Indonesia would broaden economic opportunities for Fijians.
?We hope that through this cooperation more projects will reach to those in rural communities of Fiji. We acknowledge the support given by Fiji?s Embassy in Jakarta for the coordination of Nasalia Mini Flour Mill Project in Naitasiri.
?The machines for the Fiji?s first Mini Flour Mill has already been sent from Indonesia and currently the Ministry is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to expand the Nasalia Women?s Resource Centre, following which the machines will be installed depending on how soon the resource centre is organised,? Minister Akbar said.
On Wednesday, 18th?of December, 2013 the former Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni and Indonesian Minister for Women?s Empowerment, Mrs Linda Amalia Sari signed the Memorandum of Understanding to formalize Fiji-Indonesia collaboration in areas of women empowerment, gender equality and child protection. This was made possible through the Fijian governments,??Look North Policy??that aims to forge and strengthen trading relations with developing countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, China and India.
6.?SCHOOL ADOPTS UNIFIED APPROACH FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
A 22-year-old school located in Nakasi, Suva called, ?Nakasi Happy School? has adopted a unified approach to ensure academic excellence. This was revealed at the school?s Annual Awards Day that was officially opened today by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Sofia Akbar.
Minister Akbar commended the school management for its leadership role in driving education excellence.
?I am glad to note that you have an excellent theme for 2014, which is ?Embracing Excellence with Standards in All Facets of Student and Teacher Life?. Through this the management has persevered to work hand in hand with the students, teachers and parents to fulfil the commitment enshrined in the annual theme of the school.
?It is heartening to note that Honourable Prime Minister has just recently opened the schools new Telecentre facility. This will make way for the students to access much needed information to excel in their studies. The strengthened bonding and trust between teachers, students and parents have broadened opportunities for greater academic excellence in Nakasi Happy School,? Mrs Akbar said.
Minister Akbar encouraged students to inculcate the values of respect and discipline in their daily lives. On the same note, she also encouraged parents to support their children and for teachers to perform their role with diligence and loyalty.
Mr Wasu Deo, Nakasi Happy School principal thanked the Bainimarama government for its initiatives to uplift the quality of education in Fiji.
?This new Telecentre installed by the Prime Minister has given free internet and printing accessibility to students. The students now use Biometric scanner for daily attendance records and from next year the Year 13 students will be exposed to e-learning, through accessibility of laptops and iPads.
?The government?s assistance is an incentive for parents to ensure that their children regularly attend school and strive for excellence,? Mr Deo said.
Ms Sheryl Shivani Mudaliar, the Year 13 student was given the Dux and outstanding achiever Award for 2014.? She acknowledged her parents, who are teachers by profession for their moral support that has enabled her to scoop the Dux of the year award.
?It?s a wonderful experience to see my hard work and achievements being recognized in front of my family and friends. The key to my success has been hard work and determination to achieve my goals. I am grateful to my parents and teachers for their continued support and for always believing in me. My future plans are to pursue studies in law at the University of the South Pacific,? Ms Mudaliar said.
Nakasi High School began in 1992 and it has over 300 students. There are two sister schools namely Vunimono High with around 1000 students and Vunimono Mahamandal Primary School with a student population of 750. The schools were developed by the co-founders of the Sanatan Dharam Mahamandal.
7.?SIBERIA FARMERS RECEIVE TIMELY ASSISTANCE
Farmers in Siberia in Labasa recently received a timely assistance of seedlings such as capsicum,?dhania?or coriander, watermelon, cucumber, eggplant and okra.
Principal Agriculture Officer (PAO) North, John Cox and his staff handed over the seeds to the Chairman of the Siberia Emily Land Care Group, Lawrence Raju.
The Siberia Emily Land Care Group was established through the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Programme by the Land Use Section of the North in June 2011.
Mr Cox said the core function of the Land Care Group is that farmers practice sustainable land management practices.
These he said include good crop husbandry practice, prevention of soil erosion, no burning of land, drainage and river bank protection, the sharing of knowledge and technical skills amongst farmers and the awareness on woodlot and nitrogen fixing trees with fruit trees.
?Through the SLM programme one of the model farms was established at Sanjay Narayan?s Farm through knowledge of Conservation practices hence it was introduced through Land Use and Crop Extension team,? Mr Cox said.
Mr Raju said he was grateful to the Ministry for the supply of seeds which will contribute to the build-up of their nursery in Siberia.
He said that he was also grateful for the training on sustainable land management practices over the years from the Ministry of Agriculture.
?When we need advice, the agriculture officers come and give us advice. We learnt about contour farming. Before we just plant anyhow but now we are putting into practice sustainable land management practices.
?Before we did not see people planting a lot of things. We used to plant sugar cane and rice before. But now farmers are planting banana, pineapple, watermelon,? Mr Raju said.
He added that due to the Ministry of Agriculture?s involvement over the years, the interest to plant more has increased and they have now been able to grow their seeds and self-supply the farmers with seeds.
?Before we used to want to plant?kumala?we used to go around looking for seeds. But now we just get it from Siberia here from the model farm. Nursery is at Alfred John?s place.
?We recently held a field day at our model farm and invited school children, farmers from the villages and nearby settlements, kindergarten in Siberia and Ministries and Departments as part of efforts to share the knowledge of what we have learnt,? Mr Raju said.
8.?FARMERS OF NASAQA, MACUATA TRAINED ON SUSTAINABLE LAND PRACTICES
Nasaqa villagers of Wailevu, Macuata recently participated at a two-day training on Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices, resource management and farm management.
The Ministry of Agriculture?s principal agriculture officer (PAO) in the Northern Division, John Cox, closed the workshop and told participants that it while it was important to make use of the idle land. He said it was also important to practice sustainable land management techniques so as to save the land for the future generation.
?As you can see behind this village their main areas of farming are all hills. Without us (agriculture) coming to impart knowledge on sustainable land management in no time will we see those hills coming down and being washed into the sea. Resource management in a village that has topography as such is important,? he said.
The second part of the training consisted of food security.
?Food security is one of the policy objectives of Government. So producing resilient crops to disasters is important.?
The last factor of this training was the planning component in terms of operating the farm as a business.
It involves how farmers can go about clearly laying out their objectives and through their objectives convert those into cash or into crops which will be in turn sold? which will be to achieve that objective be it housing, vehicles, purchase of other properties.
About close to 70 people women, men and youth attended the training at Nasaqa village.
Mr Cox said that Government?s policy objective is to alleviate poverty to a negligible level by 2015, increase exports and reduce important.
?Therefore sustainable resource management as well as economic development for villages especially in the rural areas is important as we want to move them away from poverty. So basically that is what the training was all about,? he said.
Youth farmer, Maciu Namoce 23 years of age of Nasaqa, Wailevu, Macuata currently plants?tavioka,?yaqona?and dalo on 15 acres of?mataqali?land. He has been farming for two years now.
He really found the training useful and said it has changed his way of thinking. He said he learnt about the importance of planning and disciplining himself so that he is able to tend to his crops daily. He added that he learnt about time management too which is very important if you want to become a successful farmer.
?I also learnt about being a farm manager or the business prospects in farming. I used to be shy about telling others that I am a farmer but after this training I have come to realize that it is just another profession.?
Maciu?s long term goal is to build himself a home and he is excited that he has now been given proper advice on sustainable land management practices.
Field Officer Niraj Lal of the Ministry of Agriculture Extension Division in the North said that Maciu has been advised to venture into vegetable farming in addition to the crops he already plants.
Woman participant, Sisilia Ema said she also learnt a lot from this two day training.
?This training has educated me to wisely manage time and money earned from farming and it has also encouraged me to engage myself in Agriculture,? she said.