- Provide constant guidance, Delana tells Serua elders – The Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Iliesa Delana has urged the elders of Namasimasi village in Serua to be role models and provide timely and effective guidance to their young people.
- FARMERS URGED TO CAPITALIZE ON INCENTIVES – Government today urged stakeholders in the Agricultural sector to take advantage of government incentives that are available to them to further improve their businesses.
- MEASURES TAKEN BY THE MINISTRY TO ADDRESS MENTALLY CHALLENGED – The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation is working together with St Giles Hospital and Fiji Police to assist those who are mentally challenged and living on the streets.
- 4. HEALTH MINISTRY TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS WITH FOOD BUSINESS OPERATORS – The Ministry of Health & Medical Services will begin consultations with food business operators to review fees and charges under Schedule 26 of the Food Safety Regulations 2009.
- MINISTRY CONTINUES TRAINING YOUTH IN CENTRAL DIVISION – The Ministry of Youth through its central division office is committed to provide timely and targeted training to the youth in the provinces of Namosi, Serua, Rewa and Naitasiri.
1 Provide constant guidance, Delana tells Serua elders
The Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Iliesa Delana has urged the elders of Namasimasi village in Serua to be role models and provide timely and effective guidance to their young people.
Hon. Delana was at Namasimasi to close a week-long Multi-Skills Training organised by the ministry for the youth of Namasimasi, Namuamua and surrounding villages in Namosi and Serua provinces.
“Our youth are prone to influences from the outside world that will always affect their public conduct and being effective members of your community,” said the Assistant Minister. “It is your duty as elders to provide timely and necessary advice to guide them towards success.”
“As rural youths, they are bound by their traditional obligations and customs to the vanua and we are to ensure they appreciate and value their cultures and traditions and display respect towards their elders,” added the minister.
“They are to be motivated to value the richness of their natural resources that if fully utilised, it will bring them prosperity,” Hon. Delana told the elders of Namasimasi village.
Namasimasi village headman Damatino Tikovala said; “Our young people are genuine villagers and all they know is farming.”
“However, they are easily attracted to foreign influences which sometimes unsettled our peaceful co-existence as a community,” said Tikovala.
“But they are hardworking farmers and a dalo exporter from Navua comes to our village every Wednesday to buy dalo from the youths,” added the village headman.
Tikovala quipped that the youth in Serua need to be constantly reminded and taught how to manage their resources and how to save their earnings to help improve their livelihood.
Hon. Delana told the youth and elders in Namasimasi “that the ministry can and is ready to provide financial literacy and other related trainings to help improve their skills and knowledge and provide empowerment.”
He has also urged the youth to use idle lands and pursue farming as a source of income to help develop their village and sustain their livelihood.
2 FARMERS URGED TO CAPITALISE ON INCENTIVES
Government today urged stakeholders in the Agricultural sector to take advantage of government incentives that are available to them to further improve their businesses.
The Ministry of Finance and National Planning permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca said this while opening the 2015 Fiji Livestock Sector Forum at the Tanoa Hotel in Nadi today. Mr Waqabaca said there was a lot of opportunities in the sector and he urged farmers to exploit these opportunities available to them.
“Livestock is of economic importance, contributing, on average 9 per cent of the total agricultural Gross Domestic Product of 12 per cent,” he said.
The 3-day forum has been themed “Livestock for Livelihoods – New Generation Thinking” and is an initiative to harness and strengthen relations towards improving the sector.
“In the past, the agricultural sector used to contribute up to 25 per cent of the GDP. We need to raise the contribution levels from the sector towards the economy and this is possible as it has been done in the past. Therefore, this is not gloom but good news for all players in this industry that there is room to continue to grow this very important sector to meet the demand.”
The agricultural ministry has $11 million from its $65m total budget set aside to support the Animal Health and Production Division operations including the budget for specific programmes such as $1m for Livestock Rehabilitation Program; $0.57m for Research and breeding Programs; $0.5m to support the Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Limited; $0.1m for Api-culture Industry Development; $0.63m for Beef and Sheep Multiplication Programs;
$0.85m to support the Dairy Industry; $1m for (tuberculosis and brucellosis (BTEC) Operations and $0.3m for Livestock Extension Services apart from other ongoing programs which have been designed to target efficiency in the livestock sector resulting in an increase in agricultural productivity and farmers’ incomes.
“The Demand Driven Approach Programs (DDA) such as Rural and Outer Islands Agriculture Development Program (ROI) and Food Security Program build the capacity of rural communities to diversify into commercial agriculture to improve on and off farm livelihoods,” Mr Waqabaca said.
”Government intends to maximize the opportunities that are available locally and support programs and activities that will strengthen local initiatives and reduce dependency on imports as it also ties in well with Government’s emphasis on supporting ‘Fijian Made Initiatives’.”
Over the years, the Ministry has been focusing efforts that are supportive of the policies and projects that would boost local production and self-sufficiency.
The Ministry of Agriculture has also been involved in the national consultation with stakeholders on the Draft Feed Bill and will be amended if appropriate before it is legislated.
The 3-day forum will work towards realizing the commitment from stakeholders and using the directions and guidance outlined in the Ministry 2020 Agriculture Policy Agenda.
3 MEASURES TAKEN BY THE MINISTRY TO ADDRESS MENTALLY CHALLENGED
The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation is working together with St Giles Hospital and Fiji Police to assist those who are mentally challenged and living on the streets.
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar says that currently there are no housing facilities to accommodate the mentally challenged. However, the Ministry has taken appropriate steps to provide them with medical treatment before reuniting them with their families.
As of the beginning of this year, the Ministry has taken 4 individuals off the streets of Suva and taken them to St Giles Hospital. Two of these persons who are over 60 years of age have been treated and are now back with their families in Suva. While the other two continue to receive medical treatment at St Giles, the Ministry is still trying to track their families. The medical conditions of these individuals are thoroughly assessed and monitored by St Giles Hospital before they are reunited with their families.
Minister Akbar has appealed to the families to seek help other than leaving such individuals on the streets.
“In order for the Ministry to successfully carry out its role in terms of assisting senior citizens, mentally challenged and persons living with disabilities, we need community support. I urge the families to have a caring and compassionate approach when dealing with such cases. But pushing elderly and mentally out on the streets is not a solution.
“The Ministry currently doesn’t have any housing provisions for homeless and mentally challenged. So based case assessment, the Ministry works with Hart Homes to see if spaces are available for accommodation for individuals who are homeless and found on the streets.
“The streets are not a place for any person and particularly for the mentally challenged. I also had discussions with the superintendent of Saint Giles Hospital, help is available and all that the families have to do is to take them there and see what is the best option rather than leaving them on the streets.
“We deal case by case and for addressing the issue of mentally challenged on our roads, the Ministry has a long term plan which will eventuate in the near future. But for the moment the solution is for the families to seek assistance from St Giles in getting medical treatment and the Ministry is also available for any advice and assistance that families may need to deal with such cases,” Minister Akbar explained.
4 HEALTH MINISTRY TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS WITH FOOD BUSINESS OPERATORS
The Ministry of Health & Medical Services will begin consultations with food business operators to review fees and charges under Schedule 26 of the Food Safety Regulations 2009.
Through these consultations the food business operators will be able to raise their views on the fees and charges they are currently paying to obtain licenses for their food establishments nationwide.
There were concerns raised regarding the fees and charges, and the Ministry of Finance requested that the Health Department re-evaluate them.
The Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon Jone Usamate has called on food business operators to submit their proposals with reasonable justifications on this issue.
Consultations will be held in the Northern, Central, Western and Eastern divisions, beginning on the 18-05-15 at Naulumatua House in Nabouwalu before moving on to Labasa, Savusavu and Taveuni.
From the 25-05-15 to 27-05-15, the health team will visit Rakiraki, Tavua, Ba, Lautoka, Nadi and Sigatoka.
Consultations in the Central Division will be held from 28-05-15 to 29-05-15, in Navua, Suva, Nausori and Korovou.
Finally, consultations will be held in Levuka and Vunisea, on the 01-06-15 and 03-05-15 respectively.
5 MINISTRY CONTINUES TRAINING YOUTH IN CENTRAL DIVISION
The Ministry of Youth through its central division office is committed to provide timely and targeted training to the youth in the provinces of Namosi, Serua, Rewa and Naitasiri.
Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Iliesa Delana was at Namasimasi village, Serua on Friday to close the training and hand youths with their certificates.
Hon Delana said; “The Ministry will continue to identify the needs of youths around Fiji and provide the necessary training that will meet their needs and help improve the youths’ daily livelihood.”
“We will continue to provide trainings to meet the needs of the rural youths in these provinces in the central division,” said Hon. Delana.
The Ministry’s principal youth officer for the Central Division Mrs Amele Navunicagi was also in Namasimasi and said; “We have collected some requests from youths in these provinces and the ministry will match these requests against the resources available before it is delivered to the young people.”
“In this instance, the male youth of Namuamua village attended the Small Engine repair training while the youths of Namasimasi and surrounding villages were provided with Art & Craft, Cookery and Pastry trainings,” said Mrs Navunicagi.
A total of 50 males attended the Small Engine Repair training while 34 – both males and females attended the Art & Craft, Cookery and Pastry trainings.
Mikea Sefanaia attended the Small engine repair and said; “We are so grateful to the ministry for providing us this training since we mostly depend on outboard motors to travel to and from Navua for carting of our produce to the markets.”
“Most of us now have the confidence to fix our own engines and other small engines we own rather than spending more money in taking them to town,” said Sefania.
Udite Cakaunitabua also of Namuamua village attended the Art & Craft, Cookery and Pastry trainings and said; “The trainings has created in us an appreciation of the things we often neglect especially plastics and wastes that they can be used to create many things which may provide an income for us.”
“The cookery and pastry was awesome as it has broaden our knowledge and skills and now we can enjoy in the village better prepared meals enjoyed mostly by urban dwellers,” said Udite.
She was grateful to the Ministry for offering these trainings to the youth of both provinces simultaneously.
Mrs Navunicagi said that ministry staff would be in Rewa this week to provide similar Multi-skills and Empowerment trainings for the youth of Noco.