DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 22/04/15 4:30PM

1. NEW PUISNE JUDGE SWORN-IN – His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today welcomed another member to the Fijian Judiciary.

2. NEW PROJECTS PRESENTED AT TAILEVU PROVINCIAL MEET – More than $200,000 has been allocated for assistance in development projects for the province of Tailevu.

3. AGRICULTURE LEADS DELEGATION ON CHINA VISIT – The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development National Disaster Management, Hon. Inia Seruiratu is leading a delegation to the People?s Republic of China to look at best practices in China?s agriculture sector and apply it to Fiji.

4. MINISTRY AIMS FOR SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARD – Government will continue to strive towards improving service delivery to ensure that taxpayers from the services it intends to provide.

5. NEW RESOURCE CENTRE TO PROVIDE ECONOMIC BOOST FOR BA WOMEN – The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar will open the new Nailaga Women?s Resource Centre in Nailaga village, Ba tomorrow.


6. BASIC BEEF TRAINING FOR NAVOSA VILLAGERS
– As part of continued efforts to revitalise and expand livestock development through the integrated farming system, the Ministry of Agriculture?s Animal Health and Production [AH&P] Division recently conducted training for 40 livestock farmers at the Nakoro village hall in Navosa.


7. STATISTICS TRAINING FOR THE MINISTRY CONTINUES
– The Ministry of Agriculture this week continues its training for staff on the basics of Statistics.

8. Semo makes mum proud at passout parade – Seventeen year old Elenoa Semo of Ratu Navula College gave her mother Mereseini Semo the best mother’s day gift after passing out as part of the school’s cadet programme today.

9. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY UNDER SEASONAL WORK PROGRAMS – The Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Hon. Jioji K Konrote reaffirms Government?s commitment to promoting equal employment opportunities for all Fijians, for both overseas and local employment.

10. More than 35,000 families assisted through social welfare – More than 35000 families in Fiji are being assisted through the Fijian government?s social welfare programs, says the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar.


11. New Manuals Launched to combat NCD?s
– The Assistant Minister for Health Hon. Mrs. Veena Bhatnagar and the President of the Australian Senate Hon. Stephen Parry conjointly launched the Diabetes Foot Care Manual and the Wellness Promotion Manual at the Lami Health Centre today.

1 NEW PUISNE JUDGE SWORN-IN

His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today welcomed another member to the Fijian Judiciary.

Puisne Judge to the High Court Achala Wengappuli was sworn in this morning at Government House by the head of State before senior members of the judiciary, including chief justice, Judge Anthony Gates and chief registrar, Yohan Liyanage.

The Sri Lankan lawyer holds a Masters of Law (LLM) from the University of Colombo after he completed the study programme in International Law with special focus on law relating to International Institutions and Administrative Law.

He was admitted to the Sri Lankan bar in 1990 as an Attorney at Law and worked at the Attorney General?s Department for close to 15 years.

Judge Wengappuli began his legal career as a private lawyer and also worked as the legal officer for the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.


2 NEW PROJECTS PRESENTED AT TAILEVU PROVINCIAL MEET

More than $200,000 has been allocated for assistance in development projects for the province of Tailevu.

Speaking at the opening of the two day Tailevu Provincial Council meeting, Commissioner Central, Meleti Bainimarama said that $216,000 had been set aside for development assistance that will be administered by his office.

?For 2015, $216.208.00 has been set aside for development programmes within the province of Tailevu and this does not include the assistance from other Ministries and Departments and government agencies,? Mr Bainimarama said.

?This year?s focus will be geared towards self help projects and the upgrading of non cane access roads.?

The Commissioner Central added that these two projects are income earning revenues for the province of Tailevu.

?Government will continue its assistance in these areas but the onus is on Fijians to take the first step and try and help themselves first,? Mr Bainimarama said.

?Only then will government ease and hasten the development assistance process.?

Mr Bainimarama has also urged the members of the Tailevu Provincial Council to continue to work in close cooperation for the benefit of the people in the Tailevu province

Government?s assistance to Tailevu in 2014 totaled $17.3 million.

3 AGRICULTURE LEADS DELEGATION ON CHINA VISIT

The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development National Disaster Management, Hon. Inia Seruiratu is leading a delegation to the People?s Republic of China to look at best practices in China?s agriculture sector and apply it to Fiji.

The delegation consists of the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture (acting), Uraia Waibuta and Mr Shalendra Reddy, the officer engaged at the JUNCAO mushroom Project based at the Legalega Research Station in Nadi. The Ministry of Agriculture is working closely with the China-Fiji Juncao Technology Cooperation project in intensifying the growing of Mushroom in Fiji.

The invitation to visit China came about through the close collaboration between the Fijian Government and the People?s Republic of China through the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, of Fuzhou, who is the implementing agency for the JUNCAO Project in Fiji. The respective Governments entered into an agricultural development cooperation in 2008.

The Ministry of Agriculture has since been working with the JUNCAO team on the cultivation of mushroom as a means of addressing food and income security.

The first recent first harvest of mushroom grown at the Ministry of Agriculture?s Legalega Research Station in Nadi took place in December last year and there has been a training of farmers conducted in the Western Division with more to be held in Suva and in Vanua Levu.

Furthermore, for the next four days the Hon. Minister and his delegation will be fully engaged in sites visits and meeting people that are closely involved in Agriculture and Forestry related programs facilitated by The Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University of Fuzhou.

The Ministerial delegation also visited different companies, nurseries and a few agro processors that provides employment and substantive income to farmers in China. If successful, the Minister?s visit to China could see basic produce in Fiji being processed and turned into products that could provide employment and income to Fijian farmers.

?We visited the Golden Land Food Factory where the bulk of its processing is sweet potatoes. Farmers plant 10,000 hectares of potatoes during the summer months which takes four months to supply to the factory?, the Minister said.

?Potato is being bought from farmers at 30 to 40 cents per kg. The only varieties planted are the common yellow and purple sweet potato varieties. Bulk of the sweet potato processed are for the snacks market which is then sold for the domestic and export market,? the Minister said.

The company produces more than 100 products produced from sweet potato.


4 MINISTRY AIMS FOR SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARD

Government will continue to strive towards improving service delivery to ensure that taxpayers from the services it intends to provide.

This was relayed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Hon. Minster Pio Tikoduadua while opening the first quarter internal workshop at the Prime Minister?s Office (PMO) with the theme ?Evaluating Results? today.

Minister Tikoduadua acknowledged the timeliness of the workshop adding the training will put forward an evaluation platform within the office.

?We should shape ourselves to be able to manage ourselves and the ministry in a parliament democracy setting,? Minister Tikoduadua added.

The PMO Director Corporate Service, Mr Moape Rokosua said the workshop which is held every quarter of the year will highlight their quarter one performance of 2015 and how they can improve performance for the next quarter.

?Each divisional heads will present on their achievements on the set targets and identified gaps which will be put forward to quarter two,? Mr Rokosua said.

?Our performance has continued to rise in the previous years with the ministry achieving 98-percent in our output last year.?

?We are targeting to maintain that percentage or more and have set an aim for the Prime Minister?s award during Service Excellence,? Mr Rokosua added.

The Ministry has seven units and close to thirty participants are involved in the workshop today.


5 NEW RESOURCE CENTRE TO PROVIDE ECONOMIC BOOST FOR BA WOMEN

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar will open the new Nailaga Women?s Resource Centre in Nailaga village, Ba tomorrow.

The Centre which was built with funding from the Ministry of Women aims to increase economic empowerment opportunities for Ba women. Minister Akbar says that the new resource centre will be a platform to enhance the skills and income generating opportunities for women.

?The new resource centre in Nailaga will create opportunities for women to produce handicrafts and many more items to earn income for their families. Through the Centre, women will be provided with entrepreneurship skills that will promote self-reliance, building their confidence to equally participate into decision making and development initiatives,? Minister Akbar said.

?Currently, there are more than 45 women resource centres in Fiji, including those in the rural and maritime areas. I am pleased with the way these centres have been completed and are now in operation,? Minister Akbar said.

The Marama Na Tui Ba Adi Laite Koroirua, has expressed her gratitude to the Fijian government for its commitment to reach out and recognise women across the country especially those living in rural communities.

?We usually find that women are neglected in their communities. The opening of the Nailaga Women?s Resource Centre by the government demonstrates the importance of women?s role into achieving sustainable development. The Centre is a great incentive for women to work together, use their talents to earn income and alleviate poverty.

?It is through the government?s swift response that this much awaited facility has been completed and it will provide employment and skills development opportunities for the women and youths in Ba. For long the people of Ba had waited for such a Centre and finally we will see it coming to reality,? Adi Koroirua added.

(Photos Attached)

6 BASIC BEEF TRAINING FOR NAVOSA VILLAGERS

As part of continued efforts to revitalise and expand livestock development through the integrated farming system, the Ministry of Agriculture?s Animal Health and Production [AH&P] Division recently conducted training for 40 livestock farmers at the Nakoro village hall in Navosa.

The training was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government with the main aim of enhancing food security and reducing imports.

The Ministry?s acting senior agriculture officer in the Western Division, Tevita Nabura said the main objective of the training was to enlighten farmers to upgrade their knowledge of livestock development.

?There is a need for farmers to adapt the new technologies to modernize their farm in order to boost production.

?Training and educating local farmers will ensure that they will be kept on track with local and overseas market demands. We appreciate that farmers came in big number to attend the training because farmers in the province of Nadroga and Navosa are beginning to take interest in realizing the market demands for beef.

?The AH&P Division is trying to minimise the use of beef as a magiti in these two villages, at the same time we urge local consumers to buy meat from the butchers and abattoirs to help local farmers increase production,? Mr Nabura said.

Farmers from the villages of Navitilevu and Nakoro were trained as they normally consume beef for family consumption and sell beef as a source of income.

Participants were trained on fencing of the paddock, husbandry practices and management and the marketing aspects of beef.

(Photos Attached)

7 STATISTICS TRAINING FOR THE MINISTRY CONTINUES

The Ministry of Agriculture this week continues its training for staff on the basics of Statistics.

The Ministry?s Economic Planning and Statistics team (Statistics and Monitoring and Evaluation) team are currently in Labasa with extension, animal health and administrative staff undertaking this important exercise.

The Ministry?s principal economic planning officer [Statistics] Sera Bose said the training was easy and simple to understand.

Ms Bose said that the training was to ensure that officers gain better understanding of how to organise, plan and coordinate field coverage that allows us to capture reliable and quality statistics. She added that statistics is a well-coordinated process and it has to be well organised and well planned.

?There is a need for staff to have farmers list in place to enable them to plan well and organise on how they are going to cover the target areas.

?This is to ensure officers give accurate information and facts as well improve compilation of future Agriculture Information,? she said.

Ms Bose said officers are trained to build their capacity since they are the people who produce Agriculture Statistics and this will be reflected during validation of staff activity output as highlighted earlier by the Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu.

A similar training was held in the Western Division and Central Division last week. Recently the training was held in the Central Division.

Principal Agriculture Officer (Central) Tepola Seniloli said that 40 staff from the Animal Health and Production (AH&P) and Extension Division attended the training in order to be equipped with the latest information to build their confidence and potential to provide better advisory services to farmers and stakeholders.

She added that staff often faces a lot of challenges in the field in dealing with figures and statistics and there was a need to train them to gather accurate information and data.


8 Semo makes mum proud at passout parade

Seventeen year old Elenoa Semo of Ratu Navula College gave her mother Mereseini Semo the best mother’s day gift after passing out as part of the school’s cadet programme today.

Elenoa was part for 480 students that passed out at the school?s grounds in front of their parents, friends and well wishers.

“This is a very proud moment for the family as she is the first to go through the cadet programme,” mum, Mereseini Semo said.

“The programme has been very successful as we have found that Elenoa has a changed in attitude towards her friends, family and chores. This is a mothers day gift for me and I am happy that the school has introduced the programme to instill discipline in students.”

Chief guest at the ceremony Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama was pleased to see the students’ parade.

“Today is a very important and wonderful occasion for the school which has provided and served the people of Nadi and nearby areas for the past 42 years,” the Head of Government said.

“It was wonderful to see you all dressed so nicely and entertain us with what you have learnt during your course of the cadet programme.”

“People in my generation are assured that our future are in great hands. Not all of you will become soldiers but use this training in any field and you will not only be disciplined but successful also.”

The Prime Minister also paid tribute to parents, teachers and officers from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (Delta Company) for the successful implementation of the programme.

9 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY UNDER SEASONAL WORK PROGRAMS

The Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Hon. Jioji K Konrote reaffirms Government?s commitment to promoting equal employment opportunities for all Fijians, for both overseas and local employment.

In doing so he reiterates that authorised employers make the final decision on selection of workers for employment under the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Scheme and the Australia Seasonal Worker Program (SWP).

He adds that the Ministry?s registration and selection process is impartial and inclusive. It does not discriminate against gender, race, religion or any other characteristic. The selection criteria is thorough and designed to ensure potential risks are eliminated so that Fiji has in its Work Ready Pool workers who meet the minimum requirements for overseas employment.

It is the prerogative of the employer to select from the Work Ready Pool, appropriate workers for the type of work offered. Applications are assessed by prospective employers for final approval.

A total of 24 candidates out of the 113 in the Work Ready Pool have left our shores for employment under the RSE Scheme. The 113 candidates comprise of 77 males and 36 females. An additional 6 applications are being processed to depart for New Zealand in June. These form the first group of 30 candidates under Fiji?s pilot project to New Zealand.

Members of public are encouraged to visit any National Employment Centre district offices or log on to the Ministry?s website www.labour.gov.fj for more information.


10 More than 35,000 families assisted through social welfare

More than 35000 families in Fiji are being assisted through the Fijian government?s social welfare programs, says the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar.

Minister Akbar said that through the Fiji REACH Project, the Ministry will be equipped with mobile units to further increase its reach to many more families in rural and maritime communities in Fiji.

Fiji REACH Project (Rights, Empowerment & Cohesion for Rural & Urban Fijians)? was officially signed earlier this week, between the Government of Japan, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Fiji.

?The Ministry takes great pride in serving the women, children, senior citizens and persons living with disabilities. Currently we are assisting more than 35,000 families through Poverty Benefit Scheme, Social Pension Scheme, Expanded Food Voucher Program, Care and Protection, Bus Fare Subsidy, Ministry?s Livelihood Programs, Welfare Graduation Programme and Child Protection programs.

?We don?t have a fixed clientele and it?s the Ministry?s determination to intensify reach to the poor and disadvantaged families in Fiji that has led to the idea of establishing mobile units in Fiji. During my official visits to rural and maritime communities some of which included Namosi, Kadavu, Tailevu and North, I was made aware of the challenges faced by the communities in these areas whilst trying to access government services,? Minister Akbar emphasised.

The Ministry through the REACH Project will establish mobile units to increase its reach to poor and underprivileged families in Fiji.

?The willingness to stage the support in Fiji is a milestone in achieving greater opportunities and targets and aligns the Government?s commitment in relation to Fiji?s Constitution that ensures every Fijian of the ?Right to Access to Information and Services,? Minister Akbar explained.

Fiji REACH Project aims to strengthen sustainable democratic governance by promoting peace building, social cohesion and inclusiveness through raising awareness on equal human rights and domestic violence, creating better access to social services, legal aid and capacity building of people and key governance institutions in Fiji.


11 New Manuals Launched to combat NCD?s

The Assistant Minister for Health Hon. Mrs. Veena Bhatnagar and the President of the Australian Senate Hon. Stephen Parry conjointly launched the Diabetes Foot Care Manual and the Wellness Promotion Manual at the Lami Health Centre today.

The two manuals are designed to help frontline healthcare workers ?inspect and protect? feet of diabetic clients and assist primary health care workers communicate more effectively with clients about NCDs respectively.

People in Fiji are amongst the highest in the Pacific to have contracted NCD?s over a short period of time and this initiative from the Health Ministry and the Fiji Health Sector Support Program is designed to help reduce the burden of Non-communicable Diseases.

The Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services while Launching the Manual said that people have become victims to NCD?s due to their lifestyles and this is an added initiative of the Ministry to combat these diseases.

?Today?s launch of the Foot Care and Wellness Manuals is an added milestone to the Ministry of Health & Medical Services targeted initiatives to prevent and manage NCDs?, said Mrs Bhatnagar.

?These publications will ensure that our forerunners of health service delivery, the nurses, will have improved access to information that will provide them the necessary guidance in advocating wellness and proper foot care?.

The President of the Australian Senate Hon. Stephen Parry said Australia was happy to be involved in reducing the burden of NCD?s in Fiji.

?Iam very impressed on how the Manual will be used in future and it is certainly a great pleasure for Australia to be involved in a very key preventative measure?, said Hon Parry.

Meanwhile these manuals will be sent out to all health facilities around the country and will be used as a guide by the health staff to advise the public on practicing healthy lifestyles and proper foot care for diabetic patients.

PRESS RELEASE