1. PRIME MINISTER BRIEFED ON THE PROLONGED DRY SPELL – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was today briefed on the prolonged dry spell affecting most parts of Fiji.
2. FINLAND ENVOY CONGRATULATES FOREIGN MINISTER – Finland congratulated Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola for being reappointed to be in charge of Fiji’s foreign policy and international relations.
3. LABASA SUGAR MILL CLOSE FOR CRUSHING – The Labasa Sugar mill will close this Saturday on the 11th of October to begin crushing.
4. FIJI LOOKS TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONS WITH KAZAKHSTAN – Fiji is looking forward to strengthen its bilateral relations with Kazakhstan.
1 PRIME MINISTER BRIEFED ON THE PROLONGED DRY SPELL
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was today briefed on the prolonged dry spell affecting most parts of Fiji.
The National Disaster Management director, Mr Manasa Tagicakibau said in his presentation to the head of government that the dry spell is driven by the potential El Nino that has been trying to develop fully in the Pacific since May.
Mr Tagicakibau also highlighted how the following sectors have been affected by the prolonged dry spell; Education; Agriculture/Livestock/Irrigation; Health; Sugar; Water; Electricity and Communities
Education – 161 schools have been affected by the current dry spell but continue to operate due to carted water. The Education Ministry through the Education cluster is assisting with the provision of water tanks to the affected schools.
Health – The Ministry of Health has also activated its cluster to coordinate support activities in the health sector. They are also advising the public to practice personal hygiene as diseases may spread when the dry spell is over.
Agriculture – While the Agriculture Ministry continue to assess the dry spell, a number of strategies have been put in place to lessen the impacts. This includes purchase of water pumps/irrigation system and water tanks.
The have also mobilised its resources and have provided supplementary feeds to animals to maintain body conditions.
Mr Tagicakibau also informed the Prime Minister that the recent rainfall experienced in most part of Fiji has filled up reservoirs, water sources and catchments.
The Prime Minister directed the NDMO to continue to monitor the situation and to respond to the affected communities. He has also urged the forum to also look at long term solutions like mobile desalination plant.
Also present at the briefing were the Minister for Infrastructure & Transport, Mr Pio Tikoduadua; Minister for Agriculture; Rural & Maritime Development and NDMO, Mr Inia Seruiratu and Assistant Minister, Mr Joeli Cawaki; Permanent Secretaries and Head of Agencies.
2 FINLAND ENVOY CONGRATULATES FOREIGN MINISTER
Finland congratulated Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola for being reappointed to be in charge of Fiji’s foreign policy and international relations.
Finland Non Resident Ambassador Pasi Pattokalio when meeting with Ratu Inoke today expressed his Government’s delight on the reappointment.
He also congratulated Ratu Inoke for playing a pivotal role in the release of the 45 Fijian soldiers who were last month captured by the Al Nusra terrorist group in Golan Heights.
Ambassador Pattokalio who is based in Canberra said Finland recognized the role Ratu Inoke played in the release of those Fijian soldiers.
The meeting discussed issues ranging from Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific Development Forum, Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The two discussed issues that are of importance on bilateral level, regional level and multilateral level.
Ratu Inoke reminded Ambassador Pattokalio of Fiji’s foreign policy of being a friend to all and enemy to none.
Ambassador Pattokalio is flying out to Tuvalu today and will be back in Fiji on Friday to attend the National Day celebration.
3 LABASA SUGAR MILL CLOSE FOR CRUSHING
The Labasa Sugar mill will close this Saturday on the 11th of October to begin crushing.
Briefing the Commissioner Northern Alipate Bolalevu on this was the Labasa Mill Chief engineer Vilikesa Vatubuli who said the mill will be closed on this day.
“We were targeting 612,000 tonnes of sugarcane to be crushed, but now in just few days to go we should expect more than 500,000 tonnes of sugarcane.”
Mr Vatubuli said they now estimate 535,000 tonnes of sugarcane to be crushed as the mills closes.
“We have a good amount of cane supply and the farmers, workers at the mills have all done their part.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner Northern Bolalelvu said that due to this dry spell, most cane farms were affected.
Mr Bolalevu said they hope that the dry spell will move away soon, so that in 2015, the cane supply will not be affected.
“The sugar industry is the North’s backbone and we cannot let anything affect our sugarcane farms and the mills. Our economy should not be affected”.
4 FIJI LOOKS TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONS WITH KAZAKHSTAN
Fiji is looking forward to strengthen its bilateral relations with Kazakhstan.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, when meeting with newly appointed Kazhakhstan Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Askar Mussinov in Suva this week, had requested Kazhakhstan for scholarships on mining engineering and other potential areas.
With mining explorations underway in Fiji, Ratu Inoke discussed the employment opportunities mining industry would offer in the country.
He said that mining engineering would be a big career opportunity for the youth of Fiji.
Ratu Inoke said mining engineering was new to Fiji and it would be best if aspiring mine engineers from Fiji receive tertiary education in Kazhakstan.
Ratu Inoke had initially raised this request for scholarship when meeting with his Kazhakhstan counterpart Erlan Idrissov in Astana in 2013.
Ratu Inoke said Fiji values its relations with other countries including Kazhakhstan.
Among other things, they also discussed issues relating to the bilateral and multilateral relations between the two countries.
They also explored some possible areas of cooperation between the two countries which will increase people-to-people exchanges and enhance their bilateral relations.
Mr Mussinov congratulated Ratu Inoke on being reappointed as the Foreign Affairs Minister and being a Member of Parliament.
Ratu Inoke was informed of Kazhakstan’s International Expo to be held in 2017. Mr Mussinov said the Government of Fiji was invited to send a delegation to the ‘Future Energy’ Expo which will attract countries from all over the world to discuss alternative to traditional fossil fuel energy.