Fourteen families and two youths of Vuaki and Yageta village in Yasawa will now be able to increase their production in seaweed farming following the handing over of 2 boats with life jackets and equipment this afternoon.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Fisheries and Forest last year to work in partnership to increase the production of seaweed and improve the standard of living in the rural and maritime communities.
While handing over the boats at the Draunibota Fisheries station in Lami, the Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary, Mr Filimoni Waqabaca said the event was timely as it lays a solid platform for reviving the seaweed industry in Fiji.
?As part of this partnership, the Department of Fisheries will provide technical expertise to support the identification of sites and in implementation, quality control, monitoring and basic training for communities,? Mr Waqabaca said.
?Through the Integrated Human Resource Development Program (IHRDP), the Ministry of Finance is providing over $245,000 for the purchase of 25 fibre glass boats with 25 horse power Yamaha engines, fuel, marine safety equipment and seaweed planting materials.?
Mr Waqabaca said this will complement the $200, 000 provided to the department to implement its Seaweed Development Program this year.
The Department of Fisheries and Forest Permanent Secretary, Mr Inoke Wainiqolo said the equipment will boost seaweed production in the two villages and improve their living standards.
?We need to improve our support services such as the issuing of boats with engines to fishermen, construction of drying racks & dried seaweed storage sheds and ensure readily available of planting materials for the expansion of of seaweed farms,? Mr Wainiqolo said.
Mr Wainiqolo adds the department is working on sending two Indonesian experts to train the farmers on seaweed farming later this year.