- FIJIAN GOVERNMENT RECOVERS INSTRUMENTS OF INDEPENDENCE – Fiji’s Instruments of Independence, thought to be lost to the nation forever, has been recovered at the National Archives of Fiji.
- Fijian Ambassadors Meet with UNTSO Leadership in Jerusalem – Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, and Ambassador-at-Large, Major General Naivalurua, met in Jerusalem today with the leaders of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), Major General Finn of Ireland and Colonel Johnsen of Norway.
- NEW WEBSITE TO PROMOTE FIJI’S CULTURAL VIBRANCY – Today marked an important milestone for the Department of National Heritage, Culture and Arts (NHCA) following the launch of their revamped website at the Fiji Museum.
- NEW RECRUITS REMINDED ON IMPORTANCE OF THEIR ROLE – Families, friends and members of the defense forces flocked to the Naboro Corrections Service facility to witness the Pass out Parade of 136 recruits as members of the Fiji Corrections Service.
- FARM HELP IMPROVES MILK PRODUCTION (FEATURE FROM AGRICULTURE MARKET WATCH) – The Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Limited (FCDCL) based at Manoca in Nausori continues with its efforts to boost milk production in Fiji and has been assisting the local dairy farmers with farm inputs together with technical and support services.
1 FIJIAN GOVERNMENT RECOVERS INSTRUMENTS OF INDEPENDENCE
Fiji’s Instruments of Independence, thought to be lost to the nation forever, has been recovered at the National Archives of Fiji.
This important historical document was presented to Fiji’s then Chief Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles of Great Britain at Fiji’s Independence Celebrations in Suva in 1970.
The Instruments of Independence is the legal document that established Fiji’s Independence from the United Kingdom. It was presented to Ratu Mara by Prince Charles on behalf of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
The National Archives of Fiji, while a repository of Government documents and Information, has never recorded receiving this important document into its possession. Past governments have in turn attempted to recover the missing document without success.
The Prime Minister who is also the Minister for the National Archives of Fiji said this new development reinforces Government’s commitment to preserving Fiji’s historical documents.
“It’s a reminder of government’s responsibility to ensure that historical documents such as these are restored, preserved and shared for future generations”, the Prime Minister said.
The Ministry of Information and National Archives of Fiji permanent secretary Sharon Smith Johns said this historic find represents the reforms carried out at the National Archives to ensure that every Fijian has access to these documents.
“The National Archives has undergone reforms designed to restore, conserve and re-archive these documents. Many of these same documents have faced neglect in the past. Now we have a dedicated staff that is genuinely concerned about preserving Fiji’s history”, Smith Johns said.
“It is yet another significant find that will be kept at the Archives for the public to view but it is also an integral part of Fiji’s history that we will now keep safely for the future generations,” she said.
Part of the current reforms carried out at the National Archives includes the restoration and digitisation of audio visual materials including historical film footages. This new process will allow the public to access for the first time, these “timeless and historical” parts of Fiji’s heritage.
The Ministry’s permanent secretary commended the staff at the National Archives for retrieving this document.
“Without the dedication of the staff at the National Archives, a find like this would not be possible and I would like to express my appreciation for their hard work”, Smith Johns said.
2 Fijian Ambassadors Meet with UNTSO Leadership in Jerusalem
Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, and Ambassador-at-Large, Major General Naivalurua, met in Jerusalem today with the leaders of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), Major General Finn of Ireland and Colonel Johnsen of Norway.
Set up in May 1948, UNTSO is the UN’s first peacekeeping operation. It has remained operational ever since in order to monitor cease fires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other peacekeeping operations in the region to fulfill their respective mandates.
UNTSO provides experienced military observers, all of the rank of Captain or above, where required in the region. UNTSO’s area of operation covers Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Accordingly, UNTSO officers work alongside the Fiji Contingent in UNDOF in Golan.
The history of Fiji’s Middle East peacekeeping was of great interest to the UNTSO leaders, with Major General Naivalurua’s background of peacekeeping leadership in the region of particular interest. He has in the past served as Fiji Contingent Commander in UNAMI, Iraq, and in the MFO in the Sinai, Egypt. He has also served in many leadership roles in UNIFIL in Lebanon.
The Ambassadors departed the meeting with a greater understanding of how UNTSO and UNDOF integrate their responsibilities, and how Fiji might further cooperate with UNTSO.
The UNTSO meeting was the last in the series undertaken during the Ambassadors’ visit to the Middle East, during which time they visited the Fiji contingents in UNAMI in Baghdad and UNDOF in Golan. They are now returning to their respective posts in New York and Suva to report on their findings and take action on matters arising.
3 NEW WEBSITE TO PROMOTE FIJI’S CULTURAL VIBRANCY
Today marked an important milestone for the Department of National Heritage, Culture and Arts (NHCA) following the launch of their revamped website at the Fiji Museum.
The Ministry of Education’s and Culture’s permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal said the website will now provide a national platform for individuals and institutions to access the services of the department regarding cultural activities.
“Anyone can easily access the thematic work areas of the department such as publications and dialogues, policy, cultural statistics, culture and education, culture industries and infrastructure with world heritage and intangible cultural heritage,” Dr Lal said.
“There is also a provision for dialogue or “talanoa” where people can exchange constructive thoughts on cultural heritage issues.”
Dr Lal added that culture sector although the oldest is still developing and envisages a force to reckon with in terms of economic growth and sustainable development in Fiji.
“Culture is multi-functional and is the essence of life and living. The tourism industry will be enhanced by promoting cultural tourism in Fiji.”
NHCA Director Peni Cavuilagi said that he is proud of his department and the progress it has made so far to achieve the Ministry’s objectives.
The website also compliments the inscription of Levuka as a World Heritage Site which will have updated information on Levuka Historical Port Town.
The website can be accessed at the following link: http://www.culture.gov.fj/
4 NEW RECRUITS REMINDED ON IMPORTANCE OF THEIR ROLE
Families, friends and members of the defense forces flocked to the Naboro Corrections Service facility to witness the Pass out Parade of 136 recruits as members of the Fiji Corrections Service.
Head of Fiji’s Corrections Services Lieutenant Colonel Ifereimi Vasu addressed the new recruits motivating them to take charge of their new role following the strenuous 12 week training program and basic recruitment course.
“To the graduating recruits, you have past the first hurdle of your career, you are about to be thrown into the reality of the actual work situation in our 12 institutions including our national headquarters.
Colonel Vasu reminded the recruits of the expectations of their new profession.
“The government has mandated us to transform and change the life of all those committed under our care.
“As correction officers you are also a rehabilitation officer challenged with the change of all our inmates. As such you are required to be role models, exhibiting the highest standard of discipline and integrity.
“Be agile by being vigilant, innovative and responsible for your own doing. At all time respect and care for your colleagues, inmates and the community and always foster teamwork and inspire one another at work,” Colonel Vasu said.
The 12 week program included simultaneous assessment on each topic covered through a combination of theory and practical/hand on experience training within the institution.
New recruit, Tavano Navu from Verata Tailevu was happy with his achievements throughout the term of the basic recruit course.
“This is the beginning of my career path and I am looking forward to the challenge. I have learnt to be responsible and the discipline which will definitely be keys through life,” Mr Navu said.
The recruits will undertake a period of induction to be attuned to the work assigned in their respective workstations.
Awards were also handed out to 8 new recruits for their outstanding performance during the course.
FARM HELP IMPROVES MILK PRODUCTION (FEATURE FROM AGRICULTURE MARKET WATCH)
The Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Limited (FCDCL) based at Manoca in Nausori continues with its efforts to boost milk production in Fiji and has been assisting the local dairy farmers with farm inputs together with technical and support services.
FCDCL is owned by the dairy farmers of Fiji and is operated as a commercial company with its own Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sachida Nand said that the company is responsible for the welfare and well-being of the dairy farmers and its primary focus is to be a self-sustaining entity within the next few years.
Mr Nand said the milk production trend at FCDCL registered farms has been increasing for the last three years and the company has set a target to produce 15 million liters in the near future.
He said last year the farmers produced 10,036,000 liters of milk which was an increase of 294,000 liters from the 9,742,000 liters produced in 2012. While in 2011, 9,613,000 liters of milk was produced.
There are 256 dairy farms registered under FCDCL from the Central Division and collectively they produce approximately 28,000 liters of milk daily.
Mr Nand added that increase in milk production was attributed to the hard work of the FCDCL farmers and the programmes introduced by the company.
“Despite the farmers having disease problems with their cows they have managed to do well and FCDCL is proud of their concerted efforts in trying to increase the milk production,” said Mr Nand.
“Last year we lost 350 milking cows that were infected with Brucellosis disease, so we have introduced artificial insemination as part of a new breeding programme that is expected to grow significantly within the next few years,” he added.
“The Artificial insemination is done to improve genetics in animals for better milk production.”
“Apart from improving the breeding programme, FCDCL advices farmers on farm practices such as dairy hygiene, animal husbandry, good management practices. The Dairy Advisory officers also do hoof trimming and dehorning at the farms,” said Mr Nand.
In addition, the company also procures and provides supplementary feed to the farmers at a low cost which is less than the market price.
Mill mix and copra meal are the most widely used feed ingredients in dairy industry and at the moment the supply of copra meal is not stable.
“Due to the uneven supply of copra meal locally we have begun importing palm kernel from Solomon Islands to substitute protein supply for the cows,” said Mr Nand.
“For the first time last year FCDCL imported more than 10 container loads of palm kernel from the Solomon Islands. Recently we have imported four container loads totaling 80 tonnes of palm kernel that will be made available to farmers cheaply so that there is a continuous supply of protein to the animals,” Mr Nand said.
“FCDCL is also in the process of establishing its own feed mill to ensure sustained supply of supplementary feed. This feed mill will be up and running by end of June 2014. Once this is done FCDCL will also be able to look after not only its farmers in the Central Division but also the dairy farmers in the Western Division which the current government has helped under its move west scheme,” Mr Nand said.
FCDCL also supplies other imported rations like calf milk replacer and supplement like dairy minerals at a subsidized cost to the farmers.
“Services to our farmers have improved a lot. FCDCL is also providing free pasture seeds to its farmers to encourage them to engage in pasture development. If the pasture is good then supplementary feed usage will be less and cows will have better production.”
“Some farmers have cows that give average of two liters of milk per day. This is despite having genetics similar to the cows in New Zealand where the cows produce about 30 to 35 liters of milk per day and our national average is five liters per cow,” said Mr Nand.
“It is not that we expect our farmers to produce 30 liters like the cows in New Zealand but at least we can produce average of 10 liters per day,” he said.
“This can only be done if the farmers have good management practices, provide adequate water, good pasture, fodder and supplementary feed to their cows. I encourage them to plant pastures like Siteria, sorghum, paragrass and also fodder crops.”
“Pasture development is one thing that seriously needs to be looked at in Fiji because most of the grass in the field at the moment is not good for the animals. A lot of farms have Navua sedge which is a weed in pasture,” said Mr Nand.
FCDCL has been providing free Signal, Siteria and Sorghum seeds to the farmers to develop the pastures to provide better feed to cows for good quantity of milk. They also monitor pasture growth on the farms.
“It’s not only important to increase the stock number but it’s vital to increase the production per animal. If a farmer has 10 cows producing 10 liters of milk per cow daily then he will have 100 liters of milk compared to keeping 20 cows producing 2 liters which will provide only 40 liters of milk per day. And to do all this, a farmer needs to know his animals well. The only way he can do is if he keeps good records. Therefore we can say that good record keeping is vital for being an effective dairy farmer,” said Mr Nand.
If farmers want to do some improvement on the farm they can also get short term loan from FCDCL at two percent interest rate for six months.
“Another service we provide to the farmers is revolving fund. Small amount of fund is set aside which is given to dairy farmers for their farm improvement. Farmers apply for this loan specifically for farm developments for example to buy new equipment, for fencing or pasture development. They take the loan and pay off within 6 months,” said Mr Nand.
FCDCL buys milk from these farmers at 78.3 cents for premium, 65.22 cents for first grade and 52.17 cents for second grade and sells it to Fiji Dairy Limited at 87 cents for premium, 73.91 cents for first grade and 60.87 cents for second grade.
“The price currently paid by the processor for the raw milk is not enough to cover the cost of producing the raw milk. Our farmers are struggling to make ends meet and this is one of the reasons why investments on the farms are so less. To encourage more investments and better production on the farm, we need to be paid at least $1.00 VEP per liter of milk. Only then will the industry and the production move forward,” Mr Nand said.
“The farms are in different categories, some are commercial farms with more than 200 milking cows and then we have farmers with about 4 to 5 cows only. There is huge difference between the biggest and the smallest farmer registered under FCDCL,” Mr Nand said.
Apart from the Cooperative, the Government through the Agriculture Ministry has also been assisting the farmers.
Under the dairy development program the Government has provided $1m grant to FCDCL for improving services, infrastructure and facilities to benefit the dairy farmers with the ultimate goal of developing the industry and increasing the raw milk production.
FCDCL works together with the Locality Livestock Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture in providing services to the farmers such as health issues.
The FCDCL is optimistic that, with their services together with the assistance from the Government and most importantly with efforts from the farmers, milk production in the country is bound to increase which will eventually fulfill the local demand and reduce imports.