- GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO RURAL DEVELOPMENT AT ROTUMA CELEBRATIONS – Fijians living on Rotuman were this morning reminded of Government’s commitment of raising their living standards and creating more wealth for the people.
- FOREIGN MINISTER RECEIVES PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION – This week the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola received a courtesy visit from a delegation from the New Zealand Parliament, led by Rt. Hon. David Carter, the Speaker of New Zealand Parliament.
- STATEMENT FROM THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH & MEDICAL SERVICES HON. JONE USAMATE IN RESPONSE TO COMMENTS MADE IN PARLIAMENT TODAY – The Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate has clarified the incorrect health-related comments made today in Parliament by the Opposition.
- AGRICULTURE INCENTIVES REAPING BENEFITS – Government’s initiative to enhance the agricultural sector especially in the livestock industry will soon come to fruition with stakeholders confirming that positive results are being recorded.
1 GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO RURAL DEVELOPMENT AT ROTUMA CELEBRATIONS
Fijians living on Rotuman were this morning reminded of Government’s commitment of raising their living standards and creating more wealth for the people.
In officiating at the Rotuma Day celebrations at Ahau Government station this morning, Assistant Minister for Agriculture, National Disaster Management and Rural and Maritime Development Hon Joeli Cawaki said that Government would continue to identify further development opportunities and intend to capitalise on them.
“We are delighted to say that Government has improved the roads around the island; improved the Oinafa Jetty; repaired and upgrade the Rotuma airport; have started to build a new Rotuma hospital and also boosted a number of Government services such as Immigration, Customs, Biosecurity and the Ports Authority to enable Rotuma to become a recognised port of entry into Fiji,” Hon Cawaki said.
“Therefore we urge you to take advantage of the opportunities and be part of Government’s vision in setting the platform for a knowledgeable and prosperous society and of course also mean a smarter Rotuma,” he said.
He said with the island’s rich and volcanic soil, there is a lot of potential in the agriculture sector and they need to increase production and higher yields.
“We also need to improve food security and do everything we can to boost the current export with Tuvalu. Furthermore we need to get produce destined to the Fijian mainland and to the market place quicker.”
He also urged the people of Rotuma to work honestly and diligently in whatever they do and remain committed to serving Fiji to the best of their ability.
2 FOREIGN MINISTER RECEIVES PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
This week the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola received a courtesy visit from a delegation from the New Zealand Parliament, led by Rt. Hon. David Carter, the Speaker of New Zealand Parliament.
Rt. Hon. David Carter emphasised that his delegation was pleased to see the parliamentary democracy in process especially with their observations in the parliament during the Question Time. He stated that “we were impressed with the exchanges in the parliament for the past two days…and would like to continue to assist in any way”.
Minister Kubuabola expressed his appreciation towards New Zealand’s reinforced commitment and friendship between the respective parliaments. Hon. Minister Kubuabola also emphasized that Fiji has a young parliament with new experiences and that democracy takes time and patience to mature. Both Hon. Minister Kubuabola and Hon. David Carter also acknowledged the support of the UNDP to this process.
The visit concluded with other discussions on areas of cooperation such as the recognised seasonal employment scheme, Fiji’s re-engagement with the PIF and the appointment of the Fijian High Commissioner to New Zealand.
3 STATEMENT FROM THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH & MEDICAL SERVICES HON. JONE USAMATE IN RESPONSE TO COMMENTS MADE IN PARLIAMENT TODAY
The Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate has clarified the incorrect health-related comments made today in Parliament by the Opposition.
This morning the Opposition member Hon. Semesa Karavaki said that the Government’s free milk provision to all school children is major contributor to Type A diabetes.
In response, the Minister said that there are number of errors made in the statement by the Hon. Karavaki which includes;
- There is no such thing as Type A diabetes. There is only Type 1 and Type II diabetes
- Free milk is not provided to all school children, it is only provided to Class 1 students
Type 1 Diabetes is a congenital condition and usually the child is born of a diabetic mother, so the milk provision will not contribute to Type 1 Diabetes or Juvenile Diabetes.
The Minister added that studies have suggested that because infants don’t develop a strong immune system at the early stages of their birth, the cow proteins contained in infant milk formula may later cause diabetes. However the findings of these studies are not conclusive proof of cause and effect and require further research in the future.
The Minister added that because of the weakness in immune system of infants, mothers are strongly encouraged to breastfeed babies.
Young children especially those in schools have the required immune system to digest dairy products. The free milk contributes positively to their development with a healthy dose of calcium and other minerals for the development of brain, bones, teeth and general growth.
The free milk provided by the Government is never intended to be consumed on its own but taken with weetbix which is provided to the schools. Therefore the soluble fibre in weetbix will assist in the removal of bad fats and sugars. The 250ml of milk is mixed with weetbix daily; it provides the following important nutrients:
- 9g protein
- 8g fat
- 12g carbohydrate
- 0.3mg iron
- 312mg calcium
For a 6 year children, the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) is:
- Protein 18-24g per day
- Fat 25-30% of total calories per day
- Carbohydrate 55% of total calories per day
- Iron 13mg per day
- Calcium 600mg per day
The provision is within the RDI and in some cases much less contribution; but the gap will be met with the intake of other foods during the 3 meals and snacks daily. So if anything, the milk provision contributes positively to the child’s RDI; and that it does not contribute to Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes.
The Milk provided to school children is to supplement nutrition from home. Government is also giving nutrition advocacy so that Fijian families can be empowered to choose healthier options from the rich and plentiful supply of foods that Fiji is blessed with. It is also based on the evidence we have that a significant number of Fijian children go to school without breakfast. The key message that it is a supplement.
Furthermore the Ministry of Health & Medical services provide advice to government through its food unit that monitors the quality and safety of any food product that enters the country or produced within for human consumption. District health inspectors have been closely monitoring and advising respective school management on aspects maintaining safety and maintaining quality of food products in schools including milk.
4 AGRICULTURE INCENTIVES REAPING BENEFITS
Government’s initiative to enhance the agricultural sector, in particular in the livestock industry, will soon come to fruition with stakeholders confirming that positive results are being recorded.
This was highlighted today at a forum by the chief economic officer at the Ministry of Agriculture’s policy and statistics division Mr Pauliasi Tuilau.
“We are very encouraged to note that some industries are already posting record figures such as the honey and poultry industry,” he said.
“The honey industry is almost 100 percent self – sufficient while the poultry industry is around 80 – 90 percent. So we can see that we are getting there and it is indicative of Government’s investor friendly policies towards improving supply and at the same time, reducing our import bill.”
His announcement was supported by one of the largest Feed milling company’s representative Mr William Greig of Crest Feed Mills Limited.
“Right now 90 per cent of our feeds are for poultry while the rest is sold to other livestock farmers. But we are producing close to 14 tonnes of feed per hour so we can be sure that we have a sustainable poultry industry,” Mr William said.
“We are other players also coming into the poultry sector such as Rooster poultry, Toa Fiji and other small holder farmers which is an indication that the poultry sector is doing above expectations.”
Mr Tuilau said Goodman Fielder’s (Crest Chicken) is also exporting its products abroad especially in the region so that is also a good sign of the increase in production levels,” Mr Tuilau said.
“In the dairy industry, we are still far off but we have programmes, policies and initiatives in place to improve the dairy industry as well.”
Fiji’s current annual milk consumption is around 20 million litres per annum but the local industry is only able to supply only half of the figure. The nation’s annual dairy products (butter, yogurt and others) consumption, however requires around 70 – 80 million litres of milk.
Farmer, Joji Ramasima, said the potential opportunities for dairy farmers are huge and urged those in the industry and those planning to join the industry to work together towards meeting the demand.