DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATIONFIJI NEWS SUMMARY09/10/156:00PM

1. FIJI DAY CELEBRATIONS IN LAUTOKA-Fiji Day is all about celebrating our achievements and promoting our hope for a future where all Fijians can work together for a common goal of raising Fiji?s status globally.

2. BEST FIJI DAY FOR BA HART YOUTHS-The Ba HART community in Namosau yesterday celebrated Fiji Day and commended government for its commitment to improving the lives of those living in rural communities.

3. FIJI AND SWITZERLAND LOOK TO BOOSTING TIES-The strengthening of bilateral relations between Fiji and Switzerland dominated talks held today between the Fijian Foreign Minister Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and the non-resident Ambassador of Switzerland to Fiji, H.E David Vogelsanger.

4. FOREIGN MINiSTER HOLDS TALKS WITH CHINA?S Minister of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office -This week the Foreign Minister Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola held talks with H.E. Qiu Yuanping, Minister of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China.

5. H.E. Lee Jong Woo pays Courtesy Call to Minister Kubuabola-The current Vice Chairperson & Standing Commissioner for the Republic of Korea National Elections Commission, H.E. Lee Jong Woo, today paid a courtesy call on Fiji?s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

6. LABASA CELEBRATES FIJI DAY -School students, civil servants and members of the community today gathered in numbers for the Fiji day celebrations in Subrail Park Labasa.

7. TAVUA FARMING GROUP RECEIVE TIMELY ASSISTANCE-Farmers of the Lovolovoni Tabakai Integrated Farming Group of Tavua were boosted with the supply of agricultural equipment this week by the Ministry of Agriculture that will assist members in timely land preparations.

8. FLAP GATES IN NORTH TO STOP SEA WATER INTRUSION TO FARMS-Construction of new flap gates to stop the flow of sea water intrusion into farm lands has been a continuous work for the Ministry of Agriculture?s Land and Water Resource Management (LWRM).

1. FIJI DAY CELEBRATIONS IN LAUTOKA

Fiji Day is all about celebrating our achievements and promoting our hope for a future where all Fijians can work together for a common goal of raising Fiji?s status globally.

Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, Infrastructure and Transport, Hon. Parveen Kumar Bala highlighted this today at the Western Division Fiji Day celebrations held in Lautoka.

As part of Fiji?s 45th anniversary for independence celebrations, Minister Bala and other Government officials visited the Golden Age Home in Natabua, Lautoka Hospital children?s ward and Sunshine Special School in Lautoka.

While at the Golden Age Home, Minister Bala met with senior citizens and assured them of the Fijian Government?s care and concern for their well-being.

?Fiji Day is about the future as well as reflecting back on the past. It is why we wish to commend all senior citizens at this home and those in other parts of the country for your perseverance and dedication despite odds and challenges you may have faced in the past,? Minister Bala said.

?Fiji is what it is today because of the tireless contributions and efforts that each of you have contributed to the development of the country.?

Minister Bala presented the senior citizens with gifts as part of the Fiji Day celebrations.

To the children at Lautoka Hospital and Sunshine Special School, Minister Bala said they were the key to having a united Fiji in the future.

He urged all children to have faith and work hard so that they are able to contribute to Fiji?s development in years to come.

 

2. BEST FIJI DAY FOR BA HART YOUTHS

The Ba HART community in Namosau yesterday celebrated Fiji Day and commended government for its commitment to improving the lives of those living in rural communities.

This follows the handing over of a computer set worth $1814.97 to the Ba Hart Youth group by the Minister for Youth & Sports, Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou.

The youth group first received an assistance of a computer set in November 2014 from the ministry worth over $2,000 after the youth group requested for a computer set for their Internet Shop business.

Ba Hart Youth Group President, Krishneel Naikar said the Internet shop is now in operation since its initiation in November and the youth group has managed to generate a savings of $300.

?The computer is used during the day for administrative work and opens for internet services to our youths which includes our single mothers from 7pm to 11pm in the evening,?

?Now that we have received the second computer it will be used full time for internet services while the old one continues to operate during the night,? Mr. Naikar said.

He said the shop really helps the youths in terms of doing their assignments and research and avoids the risks of parents sending their children to town especially during late hours.

?Now the internet shop will be open for service to neighboring communities Tavegavega, Namosau and Yalalevu.

?This is a really big boost for our business and would really help expand it,? Mr. Naikar said.

He said through the progress of the internet shop the youth group was also able to purchase a Kawasaki TJ 35 grass cutter worth $849 with the help of the Chief Executive Officer of Fiji HART.

Meanwhile, Minister Tuitubou said he was proud of the efforts shown by the youth group as it would inspire other youths and youth groups.

?You have shown great commitment,? Minister Tuitubou said.

He said it made him happy to see that despite the small contribution the government had given the youth group, they had utilized it well.

?We recognize that you are appreciative of the assistance provided and we recognize your vision in trying to expand your business,?

?We shouldn?t look down on ourselves in where we are. It?s not only the big programs that we can benefit from, it?s the little assistance too that we can utilize to achieve bigger things,? Minister Tuitubou said.

 

3. FIJI AND SWITZERLAND LOOK TO BOOSTING TIES

The strengthening of bilateral relations between Fiji and Switzerland dominated talks held today between the Fijian Foreign Minister Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and the non-resident Ambassador of Switzerland to Fiji, H.E David Vogelsanger.

During their talks, Minister Kubuabola updated H.E. Vogelsanger on Fiji?s political and socio economic developments. He also discussed the possibility of a visa free arrangement for Fiji citizens entering Europe, more specifically into the Schengen Area.

Ambassador Vogelsanger informed Minister Kubuabola that he was extremely impressed with his visit to Fiji and the courtesies accorded to him. He also commended Minister Kubuabola on Fiji?s position on the death penalty and also praised the work of Fiji?s United Nations Mission in Geneva. H.E. Vogelsanger also discussed developing trade and investments linkages between Switzerland and Fiji. H.E. Vogelsanger also used the opportunity to discuss the current refugee crisis that Europe was experiencing.

During his visit to Fiji, H.E. Vogelsanger will meet with the Swiss community in Suva and Nadi.

H.E. Vogelsanger was accompanied by the Swiss Counselor-General to Fiji, Mr. Michael Alexander Feller.

 

4. FOREIGN MINiSTER HOLDS TALKS WITH CHINA?S Minister of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office

This week the Foreign Minister Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola held talks with H.E. Qiu Yuanping, Minister of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China.

Minister Yuanping stated that her purpose for visiting Fiji was two-fold i.e. sustain and promote relationships with Fiji and also visit the local Chinese people. Minister Yuanping advised that her Ministry was responsible for Chinese immigrants living overseas and encouraging their positive integration into their settled communities. Minister Yuanping expressed her appreciation towards the Fijian Government?s support towards the local Chinese population especially for opportunities provided for business and educational advancement.

Minister Yuanping added that China valued Fiji?s relationship and hoped for further strengthened diplomatic and developmental cooperation. Minister Yuanping was also supportive of Fiji?s role in the region towards climate change and pledged China?s support towards such initiatives. Minister Yuanping also used the opportunity to advise Minister Kubuabola of China?s Maritime Silk Road ? now a part of the One Belt, One Road initiative and how Fiji could benefit from China?s strengthened accessibility to global markets.

Minister Kubuabola expressed his gratitude for Minister Yuanping’s visit and reiterated Fiji?s appreciation for China?s support in recent years. Minister Kubuabola also advised Minister Yuanping on his recent participation at the 70TH session of the United Nations General Assembly and of Fiji?s stance towards the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. He also informed Minister Yuanping that Fiji will co-host the Triennial Oceans & Seas Conference in 2017 together with Sweden.

Both Minister Kubuabola and Minister Yuanping later participated at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a Pavilion along Terry Walk, Suva, commemorating the 160th anniversary of the first Chinese settlers in Fiji.

 

5. H.E. Lee Jong Woo pays Courtesy Call to Minister Kubuabola

The current Vice Chairperson & Standing Commissioner for the Republic of Korea National Elections Commission, H.E. Lee Jong Woo, today paid a courtesy call on Fiji?s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Minister Kubuabola thanked H.E. Woo for the assistance rendered to the Fiji Elections Office during the course of the elections last year especially in providing Elections Observers and vehicles.

Minister Kubuabola also expressed his gratitude to H.E. Woo for the recent invitation for eleven (11) Fiji Elections Officers to attend the Foreign Election Management Body Officials Course in Republic of Korea due to commence next week. Minister Kubuabola stated that it would be a good opportunity for the Officers to learn and also share ideas with their counterparts in Korea.

Both Minister Kubuabola and H.E. Woo also discussed strengthening relations including in Fiji?s parliamentary sector.

H.E. Woo was accompanied by the Republic of Korea?s Ambassador to Fiji, H.E. Kim Seong-In.

 

6. LABASA CELEBRATES FIJI DAY

School students, civil servants and members of the community today gathered in numbers for the Fiji day celebrations in Subrail Park Labasa.

Officiating at the event, the Hon. Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Mereseini Vuniwaqa said the 10th of October is a day for joy and celebration.

?Because 45 years ago we began a journey as a newly independent country trying to establish ourselves in the world,? Minister Vuniwaqa said.

Minister Vuniwaqa said in order for Fiji to prosper, the nation must work together in harmony, putting aside differences and moving forward for a better Fiji for the younger and future generation.

?We have witnessed our first democratic election in 2014 which for the first time does not confine the people of this nation along racial lines,? Minister Vuniwaqa said.

?Today is a day we think of the sacrifices and commitment made for all Fijians to live a better life today and a time to look forward to the future.

?We all have a part to play in moving Fiji forward and every Fijian must remember that change is inevitable,? Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

The Hon. Minister Vuniwaqa acknowledged the participation of civil servants, school students, business stakeholders and parents for attending the Fiji Day celebrations.

 

7. TAVUA FARMING GROUP RECEIVE TIMELY ASSISTANCE

Farmers of the Lovolovoni Tabakai Integrated Farming Group of Tavua were boosted with the supply of agricultural equipment this week by the Ministry of Agriculture that will assist members in timely land preparations.

The group was presented with a four wheel drive tractor, a disc plough, spike harrow and disc harrows by the Agriculture?s Acting Permanent Secretary, Uraia Waibuta on Wednesday in Tavua.

They were assisted from the Ministry?s Rural and Outer Island program where they contributed $25,942 and Government gave $51,884.

Mr Waibuta congratulated the group on their commitment to farming and to the agriculture sector.

He emphasized to the group to plant crops that are in demand by the markets as well as concentrate on increasing the yield of crops per unit area planted.

?It is important that you plant and meet the demand of the export and local markets and not just plant all crops. Focus on a few good crops that you know is in need and focus on improving the yield production,? he said.

Mr Waibuta also highlighted the steps taken by the Ministry to modernize the agriculture sector through the introduction of technology to farmers in Fiji that will boost crop production.

The Lovolovoni Tabakai Integrated Farming Group consist of nine (9) members belonging to the MataqaliNaqaucia and Vanuakula in Tavualevu Village.

The President is Mr. Senirusi Bokini while the Chairman is Mr. Saimoni Tuilaucala, Treasurer is Mr. Isoa Nadakuitavuki and members are Mr. Apisalome Vunisa, Maleli Bari, Sakaraia Telawa, Navu Maiwaqa, OviniNakautoga, Naelesoni Ravato, Misiwaini Waka,Manasa Drua, LagamuSabua.

They have a total land area of 1,900acres (760ha) which they will be utilizing.

Spokesperson for the group Apisalome Vunisa thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for their timely assistance and advice to utilize their readily available land.

He said that after the expiry of leases from 1992 ? 2000, the landowner farmers retained their land and were only planting sugarcane and root-crops mainly for income and food security.

?The farmers then formed a Group with the major objective of utilizing their land to its full potential,? he said.

The group plants Dalo, Vudi and Banana, Honey and assorted vegetables (Watermelon, Chinese cabbage, Long bean) and they supply their produce to Maqere Exports and the local market as well as sell on the roadsides.

 

8. FLAP GATES IN NORTH TO STOP SEA WATER INTRUSION TO FARMS

Construction of new flap gates to stop the flow of sea water intrusion into farm lands has been a continuous work for the Ministry of Agriculture?s Land and Water Resource Management (LWRM).

For 60 year old farmer Dip Narayan of Tivitivi farm, Vunivau in the province of Bua he had been traumatized more often in having to see and witness the salt water intrusion into his fields.

Senior Engineer (North) Joseva Sautu said Mr Narayan whose farm is located beside the existing damaged floodgate structure has suffered a lot.

?Narayan approached the Ministry regarding the problem he was facing and requested to have the structure rectified,? he said.

Mr Sautu said the LWRM team managed to detect seepage under the existing old structure and this was resulting in sea water intrusion.

?Even though the gates were closed, the salt water kept coming through which affected the physical growth of his crops.?

Mr Sautu said instead of repairing the existing one, a new flap gate was constructed and relocated about one hundred meters downstream of the existing one.

Constructing the new flap gates, he added enabled them to seal off any salt water penetrating through the existing flood gate structure.

The Ministry had allocated a total of $74,600 this year for the construction.

Farmer Narayan who has been farming in the area for 34 years appreciated the assistance and at the same time witnessed the good growth of his rice field.

“This area used to be swampy before but after the assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture there are green grasses and vegetation,” he added.