FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 05/10/15 5:30PM

  1. EXPORT VITAL FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH?-The Fijian government has created a vibrant and competitive export sector for a healthy economy by providing cash for investment, creating jobs, encouraging innovation and fostering a demand for skilled workforce.

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  1. PEOPLE URGED TO USE WATER WISELY AS DRY SPELL CONTINUES-Fijians assisted with emergency water supply because of the prolonged dry weather conditions in the Western Division have been urged to use water sparingly.

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  1. MINISTRY GEARS UP FOR EXPO-Government’s commitment to bring women closer to the market went a step further through the unveiling of a Billboard with the aim to raise awareness on the upcoming National Women’s Expo 2015.

 

  1. BETTER AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES STATISTICS TO HELP IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS –Planners, statisticians and policy makers from 13 Pacific Island countries are gathering in Nadi, Fiji, this week to improve the collection and use of agricultural and fisheries statistics in the Pacific.

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  1. LOMAIVITI AGRICULTURE SHOW TAKES PLACE THIS WEEK -The 2015 Lomaiviti Agriculture Show will take place this week from 7-10 October, 2015 in conjunction with the Back to Levuka Carnival at Nasau Park, Levuka.

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  1. EXPORT VITAL FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH?

The Fijian government has created a vibrant and competitive export sector for a healthy economy by providing cash for investment, creating jobs, encouraging innovation and fostering a demand for skilled workforce.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya while launching the new tobacco product line at the British American Tobacco company in Suva this morning.

Minister Koya said export is vital for the growth of an economy, Fiji has experienced significant growth in exports in 2014 and with companies like BAT breaking through new markets,? Fiji can? anticipate similar growth this year.

“The establishment of exports by BAT to New Zealand further reinforces our vision to strengthen our position as the manufacturing hub. This new export line will increase export earnings by approximately $3 million,” Minister Koya said.

“The Fijian Government has undertaken significant investment in infrastructure, education and providing incentives to grow the manufacturing sector. It is now the responsibility of the industry to capitalize on the resources that we have.”

Minister Koya encouraged other manufacturers to take the leap into new markets, especially in markets where we have managed to gain better access.

“There is no market that is not reachable, especially as Fiji Airways is working towards establishing new routes and increasing frequency to existing routes, which will provide a direct link to Asia and beyond.”

Minister Koya further added that for a company like BAT that has undertaken substantial investments towards factory upgrades, new machineries and additional storage space for processing, has led to export to the New Zealand market.

General Manager for British American Tobacco Company Ritesh Dass said today’s achievement has been a few years in making.

“This month we begin the manufacture and export of tobacco products into NZ for the very first time which comes to fruition at an investment of around $2m,” Mr Dass said.

“Fiji would be exporting around 50m sticks to NZ, generating close to $3m in export revenue. This volume was being manufactured by our Singapore factory until a few months ago.

“Backed by governments sound investment, fiscal and regulatory policies, we have been able to successfully prove our case to the group in having the trust through investing in capability and capacity in helping us with our aim of promoting Fiji as manufacturing hub of the pacific.”

 

 

  1. PEOPLE URGED TO USE WATER WISELY AS DRY SPELL CONTINUES

Fijians assisted with emergency water supply because of the prolonged dry weather conditions in the Western Division have been urged to use water sparingly.

Divisional planning officer (West) Sitiveni Tavaga said they were assisting more than 15,000 people in most of the affected areas in the division, including the maritime communities in Yasawa, Mamanuca and Vatulele.

Mr Tavaga said despite some showers in parts of the West last week, the dry spell was likely to continue till January next year and people need to use water for basic household consumption such as drinking, bathing and sanitation.

“We are targeting people who live outside the Water Authority of Fiji’s reticulation system. These are people who depend on boreholes, wells, rivers and rainfall for water source. We have spent more than $300,000 on supplying 4.3 million litres of water to affected areas so far,” Mr Tavaga said.

Some schools are also being assisted by the Commissioner Western’s Office with emergency water supply.

Another major concern in the Western Division is the effect of the prolonged dry conditions on the agriculture sector.

Principal agriculture officer (West) Vinesh Kumar said they were helping close to 100 farmers with water pumps in mitigation efforts.

“The situation has not improved since July this year and a lot of farmers are being affected. We experienced some rainfall recently, which was a relief to farmers but the problem persists. We are helping 15 ? 16 farmers daily throughout the division with water pumps for farms on a rotational basis,” Mr Kumar said.

Farmers are also advised to make use of preserved pasture or silage for livestock.

“Livestock is being affected because of lack of pasture in some areas due to drought so we are urging farmers to make silage and feed cattle during such times. Silage can be mixed with molasses too.

“Farmers receive technical advice from us as well. We are asking them to store seeds during this dry spell and plant when the rainy season kicks in. In this way, their crops will not go to waste and they will get better returns out of their produce. ,” Mr Kumar highlighted.

 

 

  1. MINISTRY GEARS UP FOR EXPO

Government’s commitment to bring women closer to the market went a step further through the unveiling of a Billboard with the aim to raise awareness on the upcoming National Women’s Expo 2015.

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar said the Fijian Constitution guarantees equality for everyone and is the basis for the creation of the expo.

“The expo will not only provide the women with the opportunity to sell their products, network with potential buyers but also to acquire skills that will build their self-confidence and knowledge to become successful entrepreneurs,” Minister Akbar said.

“They will also have the opportunity to acquire information and skills through a wide range of capacity building workshops that is organised in partnership with stakeholders Westpac and UNDP.”

Minister Akbar acknowledged the sponsors for their timely support given towards the expo and said the partnership will continue to strengthen new areas of collaboration through initiatives that aims to reach out and empower the women, children and families in Fiji.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP), governance specialist, Ms Christine Fowler said the organization is delighted to be a part of this year’s National Women’s Expo.

“UNDP is very happy to support and work in partnership with the ministry and I hope there will be more collaborations of the same kind in future,” Ms Fowler said.

The National Women’s Expo 2015 will be held the Vodafone Arena from the 14th to 16th, October 2015.

 

 

  1. BETTER AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES STATISTICS TO HELP IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS

 

Planners, statisticians and policy makers from 13 Pacific Island countries are gathering in Nadi, Fiji, this week to improve the collection and use of agricultural and fisheries statistics in the Pacific.

 

Timely and accurate statistics will help governments make evidence-based policy decisions and monitor the successful implementation of policy objectives.

 

The workshop on “Strategic Planning for Agriculture and Fisheries Statistics for Pacific Island Countries” is organised by the European Union supported Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) which is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, through its Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics (GSARS) initiative,? are also lending their technical expertise to the event which concludes on 9 October.

 

The Pacific has approximately 11 million people, of which nearly 8 million live in rural areas (73%)? and largely rely on agriculture and fisheries for their livelihoods but long-term exposure to the adverse effects of climate change and frequent natural disasters make Pacific rural populations particularly vulnerable.

 

Improved statistics systems enable countries to better understand the impact of demographic changes, such as changing demand for natural resources, as well as the effects of extreme weather conditions and climate change on their food security and well-being .

 

“I am a strong advocate for better use of statistics and data within the agriculture sector and look forward to hearing our combined recommendations from this meeting on how best to develop a regional plan for our approach to statistics,” said Fiji’s Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu, in his opening address.

 

“The effective use of data will be critical in meeting the objectives in our new Fiji 2020 Agriculture Policy Agenda, which promotes sustainable community livelihoods,” added Minister Seruiratu.

 

Addressing the audience during the workshop opening, the Head of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, H.E. Ambassador Andrew Jacobs, said “Strengthening agriculture statistics in this region is challenging, given the limited resources and the informal nature of agriculture.

 

However, I believe this workshop has the potential to make a difference by bringing together representatives from both agriculture ministries, fisheries ministries and statistics offices, which often work in isolation. Strengthening cooperation between both will be a key to the development of sustainable statistics and development in the region, more generally.”

 

Coordinator for the FAO Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific Islands, Gavin Wall, said the FAO’s Global Strategy is a ground breaking effort to improve agricultural, rural and fishery statistics systems.

 

“The availability of these statistics is crucial to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and to inform national policies and programs,” said Wall.

 

“This meeting will result in the initiation of a comprehensive long-term plan for building capacities of statistical systems for monitoring the attainment of these goals for the people and communities of the Pacific.”

 

The meeting will feature recent innovations in agricultural and fisheries statistics developed by Pacific countries, recommendations for countries’ long-term agricultural and rural statistics collection requirements and how they can best be supported by a regional plan.

 

Background:

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The Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) is part of the Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme, supported by the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, under the Intra-ACP cooperation framework.

 

Data acquired from SPC SDD population data sheet 2013 and according to the latest population census data and FAO, 2012.

 

For more information on the workshop proceedings, please visit: www.spc.int/pafpnet and www.fao.org

 

 

  1. LOMAIVITI AGRICULTURE SHOW TAKES PLACE THIS WEEK

The 2015 Lomaiviti Agriculture Show will take place this week from 7-10 October, 2015 in conjunction with the Back to Levuka Carnival at Nasau Park, Levuka.

 

The Theme for this year’s Agriculture Show is “Sustain our Soil, Nourish our Nation and Reaffirm our Future” and this was derived from this year’s International Year of Soils theme Healthy Soil for a Healthy Life as declared by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

 

The International Year of the Soils is being celebrated to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable soil management as the basis for food systems, fuel and fibre production, essential ecosystem functions and better adaptation to climate change for present and future generations as highlighted by the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

 

“Soil is a finite resource, meaning its loss and degradation is not recoverable within a human lifespan. As a core component of land resources, agricultural development and ecological sustainability, it is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for many critical ecosystem services.”

 

The Show will include displays to showcase the fish, crops and livestock cultivated or bred in Fiji and will also involve other key stakeholders in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sector.

 

To recognize the achievement of farmers in the Eastern Division, there will be a Farmer’s Awards on Friday 9th October to which the Hon. Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime and National Disaster Management is expected to officiate at.

 

The Lomaiviti Agriculture Show is anticipated to attract farmers and relevant Stakeholders from as far as Koro, Gau, Nairai, Batiki, Ovalau and Moturiki.

 

This is the second year the Agriculture Show is held at divisional level and is being seen by the Ministry as a means of maximizing all efforts to ensure that people especially those in the rural areas have the opportunity to witness the Agriculture Shows at locality or towns closest to them and not having to travel far.