DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 14/04/15 4:30PM

1. PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH ISRAEL ENVOY TO FIJI – The Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama today received the non-resident Ambassador of the State of Israel to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Shmuel Ben-Shmuel.


2. TUVUCA VILLAGERS COMMEND GOVERNMENT FOR FREE MILK INITIATIVE
– Villagers of Tuvuca in Lau commended the government for the Free Milk initiative that was launched in Lau by the Commissioner Eastern Luke Moroivalu yesterday.


3. VOCEA URGES FOR UNDERSTANDING IN THE NORTH
– The Commissioner Northern?s Office has urged villagers in Nabouwalu to understand Government?s intention of establishing towns in the Northern division.

4. DIVISIONAL CRAFT SHOW TO KICK START IN MAY – The Divisional Craft Show competition for Fiji?s National Women?s Expo (NWE) 2015 will start in May and carry on till June end.

5. NASAU YOUTHS RECEIVE EMPOWERMENT TRAINING – The youth of Nasau district in the interior of Ra province were reminded this week on the importance of using natural resources as a way to earn an income.

6. Votua in limelight for coastal mapping – Two villages in Fiji with the same name will be the subject of a mapping project for the next three years as part of the ?Developing Base Maps of Tropical Aquatic Resources in the Pacific? project funded by the United States Agency for International Development.


7. Government backs Tropik Wood energy plans
– The Department of Forestry has applauded Tropik Woods Industries Limited for its vision in exploring the biomass plant as it would hugely reduce waste from loggings.

8. MINISTRY CREATES NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR LDS STUDENTS – The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation carried out a ?Fiji Rocket Stove Product Development,? training for the students of Latter Day Saints College in Tamavua this week.

1 PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH ISRAEL ENVOY TO FIJI

The Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama today received the non-resident Ambassador of the State of Israel to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Shmuel Ben-Shmuel.

The Prime Minister and the Israeli envoy held talks, which included developing the bilateral relations between our two countries.

His Excellency Mr Shmuel Ben-Shmuel currently serves as ambassador to Australia and is based in Canberra for his term as non-resident representative to Fiji.

His Excellency?s notable career also include serving as a Political Counsellor in South Africa, Deputy Consul-General in New York, Director of the World Jewish Affairs Department, and Consul-General in Atlanta.

2 TUVUCA VILLAGERS COMMEND GOVERNMENT FOR FREE MILK INITIATIVE

Villagers of Tuvuca in Lau commended the government for the Free Milk initiative that was launched in Lau by the Commissioner Eastern Luke Moroivalu yesterday.

Commissioner Moroivalu began his eastern divisional tour around the Lau group as part of the Government?s commitment to bring services closer to Fijians.

Turuva Village headman Emosi Tikowale commended government for their efforts in improving the students? educational needs.

?This is first time for students to receive such assistance with free milk and wheetbix, children on the island hardly receive this but I know it will help in their development,? Mr Suvi said.

?I would like to thank government for their commitment towards improving educational needs for our children,? Mr Suvi said.

53 year old Losena Kaukiono commended government for the free milk initiative adding that this was a blessing for students on the island.

?This is first for Fiji and I would like to thank government especially the head of government for his efforts in making Fiji a knowledge based society? she said.

A total of 32 students currently attend Tuvuca Primary School.

Eastern Divisional commissioner Luke Moroivalu said Government?s drive is to give all Fijians students access to free and quality education at all levels.

?This free milk initiative would help improve the concentration of these young students as early as this stage of education and provide healthy nutrition that some might not get at home,? Mr Moroivalu said.

A total of 31 cartons of milk were distributed to Year one students of Tuvuca and nine boxes of Wheetbix which contained 24 packets.

3 VOCEA URGES FOR UNDERSTANDING IN THE NORTH

The Commissioner Northern?s Office has urged villagers in Nabouwalu to understand Government?s intention of establishing towns in the Northern division.

Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea said there were issues been raised by villagers in Nabouwalu regarding the township projects however they were looking at addressing them.

Mr Vocea said a team will visit the villagers soon to address their concerns before any other developments are made.

?I hope that they understand government?s intention that the establishment of one of the town in Nabouwalu and Seaqaqa will be good for the people and the respective areas. Rather than coming right up to Labasa, the services will be right at their doorstep. So I hope they?ll have the understanding of the bigger picture,? Mr Vocea said.

?Right now we only have Labasa and Savusavu as towns in Vanua Levu, so developing Seaqaqa and Nabouwalu will be very unique as these are growth centres,? he said.

?There will be a lot of economic activities in these corridors once these projects are completed so it is very important that these projects be completed.?

?We also thank the current administrators for giving us some funds for these projects and we will try to use it in these projects in order for the public to benefit.?

The Commissioner who is ready to chair a taskforce tasked into looking into the township projects has also called on all government stakeholders involved to work together to try and achieve government?s vision in the Northern division.


4 DIVISIONAL CRAFT SHOW TO KICK START IN MAY

The Divisional Craft Show competition for Fiji?s National Women?s Expo (NWE) 2015 will start in May and carry on till June end.

The competitions have been organised by Ministry of Women in partnership with the Fiji Arts Council with the first craft show being scheduled for 13th May, on Rotuma Island. The divisional craft competitions are developed as a build-up event to Fiji?s National Women?s Expo which is scheduled for October this year.

The head of the National Women?s Expo Planning Committee and Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar has encouraged women groups to make maximum use of the opportunity provided. The registration of the groups taking part in the craft competitions has already begun in the Western, Eastern, Northern and Central division.

?This would be a platform for women groups to be recognised for their skills and talents. The Ministry would like to see as many women group face up to the challenge and fully participate in the divisional craft shows organised at a centre near to them.

?The objective of the craft competition is to bring out the best, the finest quality products made by rural women. It is also an opportunity to strengthen existing markets for locally produced items and recognise the talents of rural women at a national platform.

?The expo is a gateway to find local and international markets for Fijian made products,? Minister Akbar said.

The final dates and venue of the divisional craft shows will be revealed during the official launching next week. Meanwhile, search is still on for an event?s organiser for Fiji?s second National Women?s Expo. Minister Akbar says this year?s event is expected to draw large interest from the public, especially women living in rural and maritime communities across the country.

She adds the role of the event coordinator is to design, plan and organise the event and coordinate the divisional craft show throughout the 4 divisions.

?The role will involve organising events, finding sponsorship, marketing and promotions, communication and publicity, travel and accommodation of participants, program logistics and the operations of the expo,? Minister Akbar explained.

Those wishing to apply can do so by providing a written submission with cover letter, updated curriculum vitae (CV), work plan for NWE, proposed fee and three contacts for referees addressed to the Permanent Secretary for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

The closing date for submission is Monday 20th April, 2015 at 5pm. For any further information, contact the Ministry headquarters on 3312199.


5 NASAU YOUTHS RECEIVE EMPOWERMENT TRAINING

The youth of Nasau district in the interior of Ra province were reminded this week on the importance of using natural resources as a way to earn an income.

More than 50 youth gathered this week at Nasau village in Ra for a week-long empowerment training organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary Mr Josefa Sania while opening the training said; ?The training is the outcome of the earlier visit by the Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou in January this year.?

?The Youth Ministry through this training maximises the available resources within Government in an integrated manner to provide empowerment to the youth and those in need of assistance in rural areas,? said Mr Sania.

Mr Sania said the Ministry is providing trainings to youth in rural areas based on their needs that will ?ensure rural youths to fully utilise their available resources for their benefit.?

The week-long training is a joint effort of the agriculture and youth ministries. Other stakeholders for week-long training include the iTaukei Affairs Board for Leadership and Management, ANZ Bank for Financial Literacy and also the Fiji Development Bank.

Mr Sania also said that ?the main objective of the training is to train the young people new and existing agricultural techniques, ideas and good practices to help improve their land production and yield.?

Provincial Administrator Ra Mr Kelepi Kubunameca said; ?There a lot of untapped potential and resources in the province and this sort of training will help them realise what they can do and achieve for their families and themselves?.

He also told the youth of the seven villages in Nasau district that ?Ra has been identified by local exporters and the agriculture Ministry as producers of best cassava and dalo for export and is the second best province in ginger production.?

Divisional Youth Officer Western Mr Valami Naloga said; ?We have targeted 70 youth in total and so far we have 55 and we are expecting more to come in later today (yesterday) for the training.?

6 Votua in limelight for coastal mapping

Two villages in Fiji with the same name will be the subject of a mapping project for the next three years as part of the ?Developing Base Maps of Tropical Aquatic Resources in the Pacific? project funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

Implemented by the University of Fiji (UniFiji) and the University of South Florida, the project will map climate change impacts and mitigation aspects of the two villages in Votua in Ba and Votua Village near Maui Bay in Nadroga.

Launched by His Excellency the President and attended by senior diplomats from the US Embassy, the project will see over US$404, 000 given towards the mapping of the project.

Director Climate Change division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Peter Emberson says the project complimented the work started by the Fijian Government in mitigating climate change.

?The funding support will see the design and development of base maps for tropical aquatic resources in the Pacific through the University of Fiji and a comprehensive mapping of both marine and terrestrial environments will place us all in a good position to diagnose and appropriately remedy the impacts of climate change,? he said.

?The choice of Votua in Ba and Votua in Nadroga/Navosa is indicative of the University of Fiji?s insight and sound understanding of local needs, and the funding by USAID indicates an agreement with the chosen sites.?

He said the partnership would empower not only the researchers but also the local community and stakeholders to conduct the mapping and monitoring of these two selected coastal ecosystems, where coral reefs have experienced reduced growth resulting in poor marine life.

?This project is timely in that it serves to complement other Government led initiatives that is undertaking extensive climate vulnerability and risk mapping activities in Fiji?s terrestrial environment,? Mr Emberson said.

?The partnership between the USAID and UniFiji to combat climate change and provide tools to manage its impact is a welcomed intervention to building the resilience of Fijian communities?.


7 Government backs Tropik Wood energy plans

The Department of Forestry has applauded Tropik Woods Industries Limited for its vision in exploring the biomass plant as it would hugely reduce waste from loggings.

Division Forestry Officer Western Rafaele Raboiliku says the Government has always been supportive of such projects which would in turn reduce the nation?s reliance on fuel for energy.

?The Ministry is always looking at such partnerships which reduce the fuel bill and this is a much safer source and will immensely impact on the reliance of fuel for energy,? he said.

?We are in a time where impacts of climate change are being felt more rapidly and such projects are a welcome. The Ministry is grateful to companies such as Tropik Wood in its vision to assist in reducing the fuel import bill and at the same time also mitigate climate change.?

Work on the $35 million 10MW biomass plant commenced two months ago and is a joint venture between Tropik Wood Industries and three Korean companies which are GS Power, GIMCO and the Korean Development Bank (KDB).

The agreement includes the exportation of biomass chips to the global market.

?As a small island vulnerable nation, the high fossil prices have a significant impact on our macroeconomic fundamentals over the past three years. Over the past three years we have imported on average $1.2 billion worth of petroleum products,? Tropik Wood CEO Faiz Khan said.

?Tropik will sell this waste to the JV that in turn will process it for exports thus maximising on pine wood usage. The JV will sell to the highest bidder in the open market.?

8 MINISTRY CREATES NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR LDS STUDENTS

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation carried out a ?Fiji Rocket Stove Product Development,? training for the students of Latter Day Saints College in Tamavua this week.

The training program included lectures, tutorials, and hands on practical then followed by a final exam. This was an opportunity for 30 students to enhance their technical and entrepreneurship knowledge through the 2-month comprehensive training program. The students will be awarded through certificates during their graduation ceremony organised this week on Friday 17th April 2015. The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar will be the chief guest at this event.

Introduced in 2014 by the Ministry of Women, the Rocket Stove Project has drawn large interest from communities, Non-Government Organisations and individuals. Through the project, the Ministry aims to create income-generating opportunities, and promote climate change mitigation, particularly through empowering women and youth.

Rocket Stoves are very efficient as it uses less firewood than traditional open fire. It also burns small pieces of wood, reduces pollution and is easily constructed from recycled materials. In developing countries rocket stoves are an obvious alternative because it helps to reduce deforestation and reduce the risk of women and children being injured by open fire cooking.

The rocket stoves have the ability of reducing firewood usage by 54 percent compared to open fire cooking. It saves up to $520 on kerosene expenses and $600 on gas expenses each year per household.

To date the Ministry has facilitated ?Fiji Rocket Stove Product Development,? training program for Neelgiri Mother?s Club in Sawani, Tauvegavega Multicultural Women?s Group in Ba, Wasavulu Women?s Group in Labasa and Latter Day Saints (LDS) College in Suva.

PRESS RELEASE