- NEW AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP FIJIAN YOUTH POTENTIAL IN AGRICULTURE SECTOR – The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding will empower and develop Fijian youth to upgrade their skills in agriculture business activities.
- COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT BRIEFED ON FIJI PROGRESS – THE Commonwealth Secretariat in London was recently informed that the Fijian economy is expecting a 3% growth this year.
- AGRICULTURAL INSURANCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FIJIAN FARMERS – Providing insurance facilities for Fijian farmers was a key highlight of recent consultations held between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
- AID PROVISION TO INCLUDE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES – Government has reminded those involved in the Fisheries and Forestry sector that the provision of aid must always include sustainable practices.
1 NEW AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP FIJIAN YOUTH POTENTIAL IN AGRICULTURE SECTOR
The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding will empower and develop Fijian youth to upgrade their skills in agriculture business activities.
The signing, which took place last week between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma, is part of plans to develop and strengthen Fiji’s agricultural sector. It’s also part of attempts to entice young Fijians to take up agricultural activities as a form of employment and earn an income.
The MOU was signed following discussions between the Ministry of Agriculture, the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma, the Ministry of Education, the Higher Education Commission, the Commissioner Central Divisional Office and the Ministry of Health. These discussions originated during talks held to upgrade the Navuso Agriculture Vocational School. This includes Government’s assistance to the school through a capital grant of $315,000 and farming equipment worth of $397,870.
During the MOU signing the Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi said the government looks at the Navuso Agriculture Vocational School as an important component for the development of the youths and the rural dwellers.
The Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma General Secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra Banivanua thanked the government for the timely assistance and also the assurance of its support to the Navuso Agriculture Vocational School’s future.
“The Methodist Church of Fiji has been trying hard to uplift the Navuso Agriculture Vocational School to the standard of what it used to be before and with the assistance from government we are determined to achieve the goals,” said Rev. Banivanua.
2 COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT BRIEFED ON FIJI PROGRESS
THE Commonwealth Secretariat in London was recently informed that the Fijian economy is expecting a 3% growth this year.
In Fiji’s bid to continue engagement with the Commonwealth and to reconfirm Fiji’s resolve to return Fiji to a sustainable form of democracy based on equal citizenry, Fiji’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met with Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma in London yesterday.
Ratu Inoke updated Mr Sharma of Fiji’s recent political developments especially with the preparation to the September general elections as well as the economic development of the country.
He also informed Mr Sharma that more than half a million voters have been registered for the upcoming general elections.
“The Fijian economy is responding well to the economic reforms and initiatives implemented since 2008 and is expected to record a 3% growth this year,” Ratu Inoke said.
“This is the 3rd year of progressive economic growth for Fiji.”
At that meeting, Ratu Inoke told Mr Sharma that those already registered represented around 80 per cent of current eligible domestic voters.
Ratu Inoke said that Fijians living abroad were registered, with another round to begin in the United Kingdom on 13th June.
He also updated Mr Sharma that the 2013 Constitution was widely accepted as being progressive in terms of its Bill of Rights provisions and promotion of equal citizenry.
Mr Sharma was also briefed of the improvement in Fiji’s regional and international relation.
Ratu Inoke said that the lifting of the sanctions from Australia and New Zealand and their wish to re-engage with Fiji showed significant progress the country has achieved in the implementation of its roadmap.
He told Mr Sharma that the visit to Fiji in March by a high level delegation from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Deputy Secretary General Mmasekgoa Masire- Mwamba recognised the important steps taken by the government to return the country to parliamentary democracy.
Mr. Sharma welcomed the updates on the developments in Fiji and expressed the eagerness of the Commonwealth Secretariat to assist Fiji in its preparations for elections. They will need to determine how this can be facilitated through the established elections monitoring body that will be led by Australia.
Mr. Sharma also expressed the Commonwealth Secretariat’s willingness to assist Fiji post elections to assist Government in putting in place the appropriate parliamentary systems and services.
Meanwhile, Ratu Inoke also welcomed the recent decision by the Commonwealth to allow Fijian athletes in to participate in the Commonwealth Games but at the same time conveyed dissatisfaction on the position not to allow Fiji’s participation in rugby and netball.
3 AGRICULTURAL INSURANCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FIJIAN FARMERS
Providing insurance facilities for Fijian farmers was a key highlight of recent consultations held between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The consultations workshop was opened by the Ministry for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu and was aimed
at providing farmers some form of insurance protection to cover for unforeseen losses such as cyclones, floods, droughts, fires and other natural disasters.
The Minister said that his ministry has been active in assisting Fijian farmers including research of the latest practices. Research carried out enables farmers to have access to seedlings which are resilient to adverse weather conditions as well as improved genetic make-ups of livestock.
However the Minister added that losses often incurred over the years have also impacted Fiji’s agricultural growth. He added that providing insurance for farmers will alleviate some of these problems.
“These losses hampered our programs and had a dent in achieving our goals and it has an impact on our import bills of agricultural products and diversifies our budget towards the rehabilitation exercise. The Financiers also suffer in terms of rescheduling of their customers payments and deferment of dues which should have been directed to other viable projects,’’ he said.
Minister Seruiratu said that inorder to pursue insurance options, the Ministry of Agriculture and the FAO had been actively in dialogue with farmers, government agencies, agricultural stakeholders, Reserve Bank of Fiji, the insurance and Financial Institution to look for a better risk transfer mechanism.
“This will ensure that the turnaround time after a disaster hits our country is reduced and that it will help the economy as a whole to recover and guarantee food security and meeting our export needs”, he said.
“Agricultural insurance is a process that requires a strong commitment from all the stakeholders in terms of political will to understand that this is something that we suffer year in year out.”
The Minister also thanked the FAO, and the assistance of his Ministry to conduct the feasibility study in the options available.
4 AID PROVISION TO INCLUDE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES
Government has reminded those involved in the Fisheries and Forestry sector that the provision of aid must always include sustainable practices.
He reminded officials at the opening of the “Effective Framework for Donor Cooperation for the Fisheries and Forestry” meeting to realize the tangible benefits of aid in the form of improved livelihoods or an incentive to resource conservation.
The key objective of this meeting is to strengthen the Ministry’ of Fisheries and Forestry & Donor/Development Partners Collaborative Partnership for Sustainable Development and Management of Fisheries & Forest Resources. With this note, Mr Seruiratu said this 2nd MFF and Donor/Development partners meeting is another opportunity to reaffirm our commitments for aid delivery and management under the Paris Declaration 2005 and the Accra Agenda for Action 2008.
“This is our chance, the Ministry and our stakeholders, to get the fundamentals of aid effectiveness in Fiji’s resource based sectors right,” he said.
He added there is a need to strategize solid efforts to strengthen the implementation of the principles of aid effectiveness in Fiji’s resource-based sector to suit our local conditions urgently.
“The rationale for this is simple; Fiji’s vision for the Fisheries and Forest sector is selfless besides it is not for us but for those who come after us – our children, our children inheriting a prosperous and enhanced fisheries and forestry sector.
Despite low level donor assistance, the Minister said the Fisheries and Forestry sector has continued to ensure conservation management of biological resources promoted optimum economic benefits through utilization of Fisheries and Forest resources; and provided food security through sustainable management of Fisheries and Forestry resources.
In addition to that, Mr. Seruiratu said the increasing demand and cost of development of both sectors and provision of efficient and effective services coupled with limited resources, requires the Ministry to place a greater focus on other sources of funding to improve services delivery.
“On this note, Government is mindful of the challenges that lay ahead that will have to be faced with clear and concise guiding principles formulated from a Framework for Overseas Development Assistance.